Review – Beast Quest (Switch)

With a title as generic as Beast Quest, I would have never guessed this game is actually a licensed title based on a series of fantasy novels aimed at children, a series with, and I’m not joking, more than one hundred and twenty books released as of October 2019. Well, considering the amount of material the developers at Torus Games had at their disposal in order to craft their own videogame adaptation, one would expect for the Beast Quest game to be a somewhat decent RPG that would be accessible to a younger audience. After playing the Switch port, I can safely say the following: only half of my previous statement ended up being true.

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His walking animation is so dumb it’s almost cute.

Beast Quest is one of the most simplistic RPGs I’ve played in years, and this is not exactly worthy of praise. This is a very short, very by-the-books, very linear game, with not a lot of exploration or interesting sidequests to spice things up a bit. You control your generic “chosen by the profecy” character of the week, with the objective of freeing four beasts from an evil spell and saving the land. You know, the typical story every single medieval fantasy intelectual property has said ever since the dawn of mankind. With the exception of one or two admittedly funny lines uttered by some characters here and there, the story is very forgettable and the script is as bland as bland can be.

I’ll give Beast Quest credit on one thing: it really tried to come up with a somewhat interesting combat system. Even though the game doesn’t feature turn-based combat, none of the battles happen in real time on the overworld. Upon finding an enemy, you’re transported to a small battlefield in which you won’t be able to move freely. You’ll only be able to walk around you enemies. You’re also able to perform light attacks, strong attacks, dodges, shield defenses, as well as cast small spells and call for help from a handful of allies. Everything is done in real time, even though the combat system gives some heavy turn-based vibes every now and then. It’s very easy to attack enemies and to telegraph their moves, making Beast Quest feel like a cakewalk from the getgo.

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I went from playing The Witcher 3 on the Switch to this.

The gameplay itself wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for Beast Quest‘s abysmal controls. The input lag in this game is astonishingly bad, making every single action, be it on the overworld or during combat, feel even more difficult as you never know when your character will wake up and realize you told him to do something. The overworld jumping mechanics are, by far, the worst offender, with your character taking ages to lift his feet off the guard. And when he does so, you’re greeted with one of the worst jumping physics I’ve seen in a modern game, something that reminded me of the early days of polygonal platforming. Your jumping is so floaty that you can literally perform a 360 ollie in midair before touching the ground.

If only the controls were the only issue in this game. Technically speaking, the Switch version of Beast Quest doesn’t fare much better than the PS4 or Xbox One versions, which already ran horrendously. I’m actually astonished to how poorly it runs on the Switch hardware, especially after seeing competent ports of demanding games like Sniper Elite III and The Witcher 3 running so well on the system’s less-than-stellar hardware. The graphics are underwhelming, with the exception of your main character’s facial animations. The walking/running animations are laughably bad, making your main character walk around as if he is suffering from a hernia. The framerate is also downright unforgivable. It almost never reaches a passable 30fps on open, less hardware-demanding areas, and it falls to near single digits whenever we’re in a town. It felt like as if I was trying to make Skyrim run on a Windows 98 PC.

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The combat can be fun at times. Occasionally. VERY occasionally.

I might have had very sporadic bits of fun with Beast Quest due to how easy and straightforward it is, but I won’t sugarcoat it: it’s a bad game. It’s ugly, it’s glitchy, and its gameplay is borderline unfinished. It might be a somewhat interesting title for you to hand over to a small kid in order to introduce him/her to the world of RPGs, but even then I’d only recommend doing so at a discount, and if you don’t have the patience to teach your kid about something a lot more interesting, like Pok√©mon or Dragon Quest.

 

Graphics: 3.5

Some effort has been put into the characters’ facial animations, but not a lot elsewhere. The framerate is also laughably bad.

Gameplay: 3.5

While the combat system is somewhat interesting, you won’t need to worry about 70% of what it offers. The game also suffers from an unbelievably terrible input lag, as well as one of the worst jumping physics since Ghosts n’ Goblins.

Sound: 4.5

You can clearly notice that the voice actors are trying their hardest, but they’re not exactly the best in the business. The bad script doesn’t help either. As for the soundtrack… I even forgot there was one.

Fun Factor: 5.0

Considering how easy this game is, it can actually be fun for younger audiences with not a lot of baggage (or knowledge about what a good game actually is). I occasionally had fun with Beast Quest, but it’s too riddled with bugs, glitches and poor level design for me to take it seriously.

Final Verdict: 4.0

Beast Quest is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Beast Quest was provided by the publisher.