One of the fairly recent developments in video games is DLC or downloadable content. It has been a development that has been met with mixed reviews to be certain. You can find games that charge absurd prices for cosmetic changes to the game, games that leave out content from the initial release to release DLC shortly after release, and you can also find reasonably priced DLC that is well done and worth purchasing.
What does this have to do with the game I’m looking at today? How about the fact that DLC Quest is a parody game pointed directly at the idea of DLC. In fact it goes pretty much as far as having every element of the game needing to be “purchased” including sounds, the ability to turn left, animations, everything. You don’t have to use real world money, but these “DLC packs” are purchased using in game coins.
Well let’s be honest, DLC Quest‘s focus is not story. It introduces itself as a basic go find the bad guy and rescue the princess kind of game. Story is not the focus here, it’s game with a joke about DLC and perhaps a grim vision of a potential future where every part of a game needs to be unlocked by some kind of DLC.
DLC Quest is a platformer, you jump and explore levels to collect coins in order to unlock more of the “DLC packs” so that you can continue on to the next portion of the game. That’s pretty much it. It’s not very complex. It’s running and jumping and finding enough money for the “DLC” you need to get past the most recent obstacle in you path.
With a threadbare story one would not expect this game to have any significant themes. Largely the only theme present is the joke that the game centers around, the idea of DLC being abused. It’s not that significant really, but it is the theme that this game is built around. You could potentially walk away from the game thinking about healthy and unhealthy business practices in regards to the gaming industry or in general, but I doubt that would be most people’s take away from this game.
- Keep it Simple – DLC Quest is a simple, but fun game. It may not have the complexity of many games today, but it was still surprisingly fun.
- Priced for What it is – Steam has this game for $2.99, which compared to a lot of the indie games that I’ve given my thoughts on here, is actually a price that fits well with a game of this length and complexity. It probably even goes on sale cheaper than this at times and would then even be a better deal.
- Over and Over Again – DLC Quest’s joke is funny. Poking fun of the video game industry and particularly DLC is an area ripe for some mockery. However, crafting a whole game around that one joke can get old. It keeps it interesting with amusing extra “DLC packs” like Canadian dialog, but it’s really the same joke over and over again. The developers certainly aren’t hiding this fact, but just be aware.
- Where to Go – There are points in the game that what you need to do next isn’t entirely clear. These are rare, but I remember at least one point where I wasn’t sure what I needed to do. I eventually figured it out and all it took was being willing to explore a little, but it just reminded me of a part of older gaming that I don’t miss, the wander around hoping you’ll figure out what to do.
- What Big Eyes You Have – I’m not one who nitpicks graphics too much. However, the characters in this game are pretty ugly. Don’t take this as I just don’t like retro graphics. I like them just fine. They can be done rather well and look nice even today, but this game doesn’t do it. The eyes of the characters are almost larger than their whole head and it just makes them look very strange. A minor gripe to be certain, but they are still ugly looking characters.
DLC Quest is a fun little time waster. It’s a one joke pony, but executes it well enough. You are not getting a complicated game with an engrossing story or well developed themes. Instead it is focused on the main joke and trying to find as many ways to poke at the joke throughout the game, which can get old or annoying. The game is short and fun, but lacks in substance.
At $2.99 or cheaper it’s priced better than some games this length, but still may be one that lacks the pull to make you purchase. There are better platformers out there and plenty of other avenues to get the humor. I enjoyed it, but not enough to give it a glowing recommendation. It’s not a bad game, but just understand what you’re getting before jumping into it.