Warhammer Quest Review: Satisfying Old School Dungeon Crawling
There’s an old tabletop board game called Warhammer Quest that came out in the mid-1990s. Like so many games in the tabletop realm, it stayed in production for only a few years but has developed a dedicated cult following. Some of those followers must be developers with Rodeo Games, because their iOS translation of Warhammer Quest definitely catches the spirit of that tabletop experience.
Warhammer Quest is based in the Warhammer Fantasy world, which is more or less just a generic sword-and-sorcery setting originally developed for the Warhammer miniatures wargame. For purposes of Quest, this means European forests, medieval towns, hero-filled taverns, and plenty of dank underground complexes full of evil. You take on a band of warriors delving into the dark places in search of treasure, defeating baddies as you go.
In terms of play, this means navigating a team of four heroes (a warrior, a dwarf, a mage, and an archer to begin with) through various dungeon complexes, in much the same way as you did in the old board game. Each dungeon is made up of a grid of spaces. Each hero can generally move a certain distance each turn, followed by an attack (if there’s an enemy nearby). In keeping with the board game, enemies appear in almost every room you enter, thus assuring there’s lots of action in each questing area.
Towns are where you go to rest, buy and sell equipment, find quests, and hire new heroes. This isn’t a modeled town that you move about; just a functional series of menu screens. The tavern will frustrate you, though, when you find out that any new hero you want to hire beyond the four original heroes will cost you $2.99 IAP.
Graphically, the game is gorgeous. Rodeo Games really captured the Games Workshop aesthetic with this title. Colors are muted, blood is gory, and recognizable elements from Warhammer Fantasy are, well, recognizable. It’s a slick presentation.
The translation from board game to touchscreen is not without its flaws. For one, you must move each hero separately, each turn. The upside to this is that you can always move a hero, then move another hero, then go back to the first hero for an attack action. The downside is that even if you want all four of them to travel the same distance in the same formation, you have to go back and forth, commanding each individually; there’s no grouping or party actions here. This can lead to a slow, almost plodding pace at times, especially since movement in the game is rather slow.
Combat is equally slow, in part because each enemy must also move each turn, AND must swing their weapons ever-so-slowly. Really, Rodeo Games needs to notch the speed of movement and striking up just a bit. There’s no reason for the almost slow motion of actions in the game.
And honestly, though this is a Universal app, it’s really a game designed for iPad. On the iPhone everything is just a bit too small to be easily viewed; text, especially, can get minuscule and hard to read sometimes. I don’t know that I’d recommend it as highly to those without a compatible iPad.
All in all, Warhammer Quest is a solid turn-based dungeon crawl for those craving a little old-school tabletop combat. It’s not a perfect translation, but it’s satisfying enough for this old-school tabletop gamer.
Our score: 4 out of 5.
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