Punch Quest Review: A Free, Fun Ka-Pow!
Endless runner is a genre that has been well explored on iOS. It’s not so much about innovation anymore as it is about execution — who can get the genre right, and do it well? One game that definitely gets it right is Punch Quest, a wacky action runner that’s available for free download.
There’s a story to Punch Quest, but it’s irrelevant. Just know that you play a badass runner [I don't even know if he has a name] who must get as far as possible through an endless dungeon, killing zombies, ogres, ghosts, and other monsters as you go. The lack of any coherent concept means they can choose to throw almost anything at you. It may not always make sense — fighting garden gnomes, bouncing triceratops skulls, and cruisin’ cyclopes all show up — but it’s undeniably fun.
In fact, killing bad guys is as important here as getting further. Combat is the key to this game, and unlocking new combat powers is what will improve your score. Combat is a two-button affair (left screen to uppercut [jump], right screen to punch), but new powers, unlocked via in-game currency as you play, add some surprising depth to the simple setup. Granted, that depth is countered by the fast pace, which means nuanced timing isn’t always feasible and half the time it just feels like button-mashing.
That button-mashy combat nature of the game can get a tad frustrating at times, as the need to fight enemies can sometimes be at odds with trying to navigate over damaging obstacles like spikes and fire pits. It’s really easy to get so caught up in punching that you don’t see the hazards until you’ve already fallen afoul of them. More than once my runs have been ended by an unfortunate patch of dangerous obstacles.
Punch Quest keeps things lively by throwing branching paths at you and allowing you to choose what you face. One path might indicate treasure; another might indicate heavy combat; a third might just have a big question mark. Some of these actually feature Bosses, big, tough monsters that you more or less NEED upgraded combat abilities to defeat. It’s a great idea in an endless runner, and it’s one that I quite enjoyed.
My favorite part of the game is the egg. Depending upon the path you take, you can come across giant eggs that transform the game for a short time. In one of these eggs, you become a musclebound garden gnome. In the *better* egg, though, you get to ride a LASER-BREATHING DINOSAUR. Yeah, that. ‘Nuff said.
Playing Punch Quest reminded me a lot of the only other endless runner game that has earned a permanent place on my iPhone: Jetpack Joyride. And I mean that as a compliment. Punch Quest shares a number of successful elements with Jetpack Joyride, but it remains original and not at all a clone.
If there were any money being paid for Punch Quest, I’d probably quibble about its IAPs. But the game is FREE, and the IAPs aren’t that necessary, and so I really don’t have any complaints here. Like the previously mentioned Jetpack Joyride, the game is designed so that it can be played for free while still allowing eventual access to IAP assets.
All in all, Punch Quest is an absolute blast, and for the low price of free it’s definitely worth your time to try. It might be a little silly and a little shallow, but dang, is it fun.
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5