Monday, May 23, 2011

El Cheapo: Gaming on a Budget - Lock's Quest

Like many of you out there, I am not made of money, neither literally or figuratively. That being the case, I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the bargains I've found while trying to scrounge up some compelling playtime. Eventually, I'll discuss my impressions of various F2P MMO's (and how long I could stand 2 P for F before quitting), but for now, a good portion of my daily video game allotment goes to handheld games.

One of the things that a handheld (the Nintendo DS, in this case) can do really well is an isometric (3/4 top down view) strategy game. I've played all the handheld Final Fantasy Tactics games, Onimusha Tactics on the Game Boy Advance, and several others throughout my handheld history. Lock's Quest by THQ is a standout among these. It mixes real time strategy, tower defense and direct combat into a frantic and rewarding mix of game play options, while forcing the player to quickly make tactical decisions. This game is a super bargain is you get it used. As of this writing, a used copy goes for about $7 and you can expect to get between 30-40 hours out of a single play through.

The main character, Lock, is an archineer meaning that he can build walls and defenses out of energy. Before each round of the game starts, you have about a minute to create walls and turrets around what ever it is you have to defend that round (usually a person, a building, or an energy hub). Once the build phase is complete, the enemy start advancing on you and you can combat them directly using you wrench as a club and a few special abilities or you can stay safely behind the walls and repair damage as it happens. If a wall or turret is destroyed, you have to wait for the next build phase to replace it. Usually, each round ends up having a good mix of you running all over the place fighting and repairing to hold back the tide of attackers.

I'll be honest, I played with the sound off, so I can't give a yay or nay on that front, but the graphics are crisp and the controls are relatively tight (controlled mostly via stylus) and I had very few problems making the game do what I wanted it to do. Sometimes, Lock would run the wrong way because the path I wanted him to use was blocked and other times I couldn't see what was going on because a wall was in the way, but this was a minor annoyance at worst. The story is serviceable and the overall experience is satisfying. I recommend this game. Enjoy!

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