Quest Master (Early Access)

Posted:  May 30, 2024
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
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Review

Quest Master was provided by Apogee Entertainment for review. Thank you!

Quest Master is in early access, so there may be major changes that take place as development continues. This review is more of an evaluation of the current game offerings.

Nintendo did something extremely special with the older 2D Mario series when they made Super Mario Maker. Taking the older style of gameplay and giving gamers the tools to create their levels and worlds was genius, and it allowed for a near-infinite amount of content to be made using the fantastic base that Mario provided. I will never know why they didn't do this with the older Legend of Zelda games, like Minish Cap or the Oracle series, but at least I don't have to wait and find out what it would be like, thanks to Quest Master!

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Quest Master takes the Super Mario Maker idea and runs it through a Legend of Zelda base instead. So, just like the older games, we will be playing on a 2D plane, but above to move up, down, left, and right. We have a sword that can swing and charge up for a spin attack. We can also roll around to dodge and attack coming out of the roll. There are also other key items you can pick up, like bombs or a shovel, that you can use to interact with the environment in different ways or get new weapons to take enemies down. And all of this can be done with three-player co-op, which is even cooler, and it's extremely easy to find and download new dungeons.

Each dungeon is a self-contained adventure, so any of the key items you pick up will be gone when you start a new one. It's kinda cool having it structured this way, and it makes it feel like the game has tons of content to explore. The mechanics are sound, and I enjoyed going through each level and solving puzzles that the community made to complete them. Some were extremely well thought out and took me 15-20 minutes, which I thought was awesome. There are some little control issues I had to get used to, like how you can walk but not roll in a diagonal line, and some sword singing can feel weird, but these are minor issues that can easily be fixed with updates.

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None of this would be possible without the robust creation system that Quest Master has. It's extremely easy to build your own dungeons, especially when using a controller. You can use a combination of different terrains, items, tools, hazards, interactable objects, and machines that you can combine into a compelling experience. You can also add stairs that go up and down floors, and from what I can tell, you can go up and down as many floors as you want. In my testing, I was able to get to floor 152 and keep going, so it seems near limitless.

Through early access, more parts will be available to use and the ability to make a full overworld, which is incredible. The dungeon maker is already quite fleshed out, so anything added is going to feel like an expansion. There are three different themes to choose from currently, and there will be more. The idea of a standalone story campaign is exciting. There's a lot to look forward to, but what's here so far does give a solid experience out of the box.

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Quest Master's pixel visuals are gorgeous, treading a nice line between detailed and not while being very colorful and distinct. It's enticing to play, though it will largely depend on the community to make buying now worthwhile. There is no single-player campaign yet, which means the community must make every dungeon you play. There are some mini-games here and there, but the actual dungeons are all from those who bought the game. There's a lot of potential here, but it's taking a chance on a game that may not have the community it needs to back it up.

And, even with some small hiccups here and there, it's a joy to play on the Steam Deck.

Quest Master - Steam Deck Performance

When looking at Quest Master, I had little doubt that this would run on the Steam Deck. It is very pixelated, not very detailed, and fully 2D. Games like this tend to run wonderfully on Deck and not take up many resources. For the most part, that is true here, but being a dungeon creator, we do run into the odd one that pushes the system.

In most basic dungeons, we can get to 90 FPS without much issue and a battery drain around 9W, which is what I expected, but there are more complex dungeons that push further. I found multiple that would drain at 15W - 16W, but at 60 FPS, would drop down to 10W, so I recommend sitting at 60 for stability. Then, we have the dungeons that use a ton of enemies, and that puts a massive drain on the system. Even without a TDP limit, the framerate will drop to 40 FPS, which isn't great.

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In the end, this is unavoidable, and nothing can fix it. So, I generally recommend playing at 60 FPS with a TDP limit of 6. This keeps the battery drain on the lower end without weird spikes, and the framerate is stable (for most dungeons). The bigger and more intensive dungeons are unavoidable, and we will have issues with them no matter what, but at least playing like this will keep it stable in most scenarios.

Accessibility

As for accessibility, there are some changes we can make to the settings. Under a specific tab, we can change the intensity of the screen shake, but there is more! We can also change tooltip duration, language, auto-save intervals, scroll sensitivity, zoom speed, and edge scrolling.

The game does support 16:10 resolutions and has cloud saves and controller support. There are no HDR settings.

Conclusion

Quest Master is probably one of the few early-access titles I will be following with a close eye until its release. The mechanics are sound, and the editor is not only easy but is robust and can allow for some really unique content right out of the box. It looks gorgeous and feels great, for the most part, but it does rely a little too much on community activity to be a fully playable game right now. It has a lot of potential, especially on the Steam Deck, and we will hopefully see how great it is as early access adds in new mechanics, themes, enemies, items, and more.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Quest Master has a lot of promise and could be an amazing game if the community is active enough. And it is quite playable on Steam Deck.

Content

Gameplay: 
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Graphics: 
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Story: 
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Sound: 
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Fun Factor: 
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Build Score

Performance: 
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VISUALS: 
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Stability: 
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Controls: 
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Battery: 
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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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