A Rogue’s Tale: ‘Quest for Infamy’ is a fun but flawed throwback

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Quest for Infamy
Infamous Quests
Phoenix Online Studios
PC

There is a certain nostalgic thrill at being able to finally play new games in what has long been thought to be a dead genre. Quest for Infamy aims to tap into that nostalgia right from the get-go, and is, for the most part, fairly successful.

Inspired mainly by PC adventure games from the 80s and 90s, Quest for Infamy presents itself as a deliberately pixelated example of yesteryear, and being yet another child of the Kickstarter revolution, the game hopes to deliver a product which it feels has long been vacant from the marketplace.

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In at least some senses, developer Infamous Quests, is certainly correct, after all, RPGs and adventure games have evolved into a very different manner of animal since the early days of the point-and-click adventure. As is the case with side-scrollers, platformers, and first-person exploration games, the new indie frontier seems truly primed as the perfect place to revisit and reanimate this forgotten bastion of gaming lore.

With that said, though, there is an inherent problem with this strategy: sometimes you can ape a concept too well, and in communicating the freedom and fun of games like Quest for Glory or King’s Quest, IQ also translates their flaws. Ideally, when crafting a fun throwback, the developer will capitalize on the genres strengths while mitigating its weaknesses based on hindsight, take the new Rayman games as an example. Granted that a smaller project like Quest for Infamy lacks the obvious clout of a powerhouse backer like Ubisoft, it’s still hard not to notice problems like unclear objectives, unsolvable puzzles, and simplistic battle systems that have long been staples of the genre.

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Conversely the game does have a lot to offer, particularly in its strong writing, and often amusing presentation. The humor is particularly strong, and it becomes clear from very early on that the writers have some pretty solid comedic chops. Nearly every item, person, and locale can be examined with often hilarious results. For example, if the player tries to enter a moonlit tomb in an abandoned graveyard, the narrator simply says “Leave the creepy tomb alone dumbass.” As a longtime fan of horror films, it’s a fun bit of irony to get told off and set straight in the same way that I so often find myself speaking to the genre tropes of my own experience.

The dialogue and character animations also offer a lot of enjoyment. Old-school climbing and sneaking mechanisms are good for a smirk or two, and the often silly character portraits occasionally showcase a deliberate ugliness reminiscent of games like Hotline Miami. Neither is IQ afraid to go meta, with references that often outsource or bypass its medieval folklore setting with generally good results.

Ultimately, Quest for Infamy is a bit of a mixed bag, but gamers who can power through the sometimes bland and confusing gameplay, particularly gamers who have an affection for 90s adventure games, will find a whole lot to enjoy, especially in the writing.

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