Review: King’s Quest: Rubble Without a Cause
King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember came as a big surprise to me this year. Even with no attachment to the series I found myself completely enthralled with its story and characters. I loved the fairy tale vibe I got from the world as well as the humor and color that came with it. Lasting around six hours the first chapter left me feeling satisfied while still planting the seeds for future installments. Rubble Without a Cause is finally here and, while it still contains much of what I loved about the first chapter, it stumbles a bit through a disappointingly short run-time.
Rubble Without a Cause picks up with Graham dealing with his usual duties as King. There’s a short intro sequence where you’re forced to rapidly make decisions regarding major issues facing the kingdom. It’s clear from the start that Graham’s having a difficult time keeping up with all of the tasks required of him. I would have liked to see this opening section expanded upon a little more. It’s great setup for where the story in this chapter will eventually lead, but it’s over far too quickly.
The story this time around kicks off with the capture of King Graham (and fellow townsfolk) by the goblins. Almost the entirety of this chapter takes place in the Goblin Caves which of course leads to a little less visual variety compared to the first chapter. Rubble Without a Cause is about half the size of A Knight to Remember and, considering how long the wait has been, that’s a little disappointing. At the same time it’s nice to see almost no reused areas and puzzles that feel quite different from before.
There’s a moment early on where King Graham speaks about the regret he still feels towards the passing of a good friend. This combined with the pressures of being King help drive the overarching puzzle present in this chapter. While trapped in the Goblin Caves you and all other prisoners are quite weak and need food to survive. While solving puzzles you have to decide how to ration out food on a daily basis. While it’s possible to ‘save’ everyone it’s likely that mistakes will be made on a first playthrough. There’s a balancing act between keeping your friends healthy while also taking care of yourself. Graham needs strength to solve certain puzzles, but not sharing the daily supply of food could prove fatal for someone. The game leads you to believe that characters can die and that puts a lot of weight on your shoulders. It’s an interesting change from chapter one where decision making wasn’t as pivotal. Then again all of this is essentially made pointless by the end of the chapter.
Most of the puzzles tie into the food mechanic and they work well because of it. I really like the idea of rationing food and it helps that this happens with people we’ve met before. These are all characters from the first chapter that I’ve grown to like. I want to save them. Watching a body get carried away on a stretcher while old King Graham talks about being a bad King is really effective. I guess it makes sense that these characters won’t actually die, but that does lesson the impact a bit.
It’s not as colorful or as big as the first entry, but Rubble Without a Cause still contains much of what I loved about A Knight to Remember. There’s great characters, puzzles, some cool fairy-tale references, and most importantly there’s just a lot of heart. I just wish it didn’t end so soon.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Characters and puzzles are still well done
- Rationing food between survivors gives weight to your decisions, but...
What I Dislike:
- ...the ending makes many of your choices meaningless
- About half the size of the previous episode