Nimble Quest Review

Nimble Quest Review

Apr 4, 2013

Nimble Quest, the latest from NimbleBit, starts off with an immediate nod to its direct influence, Snake. Before mobile games exploded, everyone enjoyed Snake on a Nokia mobile phone, because what else was there to do besides play Snake? So, immediately, it seems like there may not be much to this at all.

Nope. Nimble Quest takes that simple concept and makes it deeper and more fun than it has any right to be.

It starts by adding a bit of strategy to the standard Snake gameplay of turning left and right, avoiding walls and enemies. See, players control a character that has a special attack ability that triggers when near enemies, and they use that to take out enemies. Other heroes can be collected as drops from enemies that form parts of the snake, and can use their own individual attacks. Now, enemies can attack as well, so it becomes about staying out of danger, as the heroes have health bars that will quickly diminish, and if the lead hero dies, it’s game over. So, there’s a strategy to approaching the enemies, one that is about taking as little damage as possible.

Now, this is where the free-to-play elements start to be exposed in the design, but in the traditional non-intrusive NimbleBit way. See, the maximum number of heroes that can be used in a chain is equal to the number of heroes that are unlocked. Naturally, it gets easier to progress further as more heroes are available. The characters can be unlocked by reaching certain level milestones in the game, or by buying them via IAP. Boosts can be bought by spending tokens, earned through random drops, or by spending 1,000 gems, the common currency. Both can be bought via IAP as well. Gems are used for powerup upgrades along with character upgrades.

All this talk about the IAP obfuscates the fact that it’s perfectly possible to enjoy the game at its core. It’s simple to pick up, and can be enjoyed with one hand, and in any orientation desired. While there is a definite sense of progression, of getting better, that can be accelerated by spending money, it’s still possible to play the game without spending money. NimbleBit tests without having IAP enabled, and it shows – this is a game that is free to have fun with, though there’s plenty of reward for spending. It’s a great balance that works in the way that free-to-play absolutely should be. Unlocking everything will take a while, along with just trying to get high scores for each character, but there’s also a guild mode where players compete for their team to raise their total score. Join guild #148Apps and let’s take on the world!

Nimble Quest is another winner from NimbleBit. In a world where free-to-play can be annoying and exploitative of players, they’re showing that it’s possible to do it right.

Nimble Quest Coming Soon to Android

Nimble Quest Coming Soon to Android

Mar 20, 2013

NimbleBit is about to return with Nimble Quest, their latest free-to-play title after last year’s addictive Pocket Planes. This one is not a simulation title like their previous titles, but is actually a take on the classic Snake gameplay, with light RPG elements.

Players control a line of heroes that move like a snake, swiping to turn in a particular direction, with their snake of characters automatically attacking nearby enemies. Those enemies are attacking as well, and are trying to take out the player’s ‘snake’ of heroes, though the other heroes are expendable; if the leader dies then it’s game over. Along the way, players collect gems, powerups, and extra heroes from enemies that drop them. Gems can be spent on in-game upgrades, and can be purchased as well, though the game has been tested with IAP disabled in order to ensure that it’s a fun experience for free players as well as those who pay for additional credits, skip ahead in unlock progression or to unlock things like the gem doubler.

Visually, the game doesn’t have the same low-resolution pixelated look that Tiny Tower or Pocket Planes had, opting for a more 16-bit pixel art style with more detail. The soundtrack, featuring music from prolific indie composer Whitaker Trebella, is retro-esque without going too much in to the chiptunes territory.

There is also an Arena mode where players spend tokens, the game’s secondary currency (which can be bought with gems or earned as random pickups) to play and try to amass kills for their guild. This is similar to the Flight Crew from Pocket Planes.

Apple fans will be getting the first crack at the game on March 28th, as the game launches on iOS and Mac there. The game should be releasing soon on Android, according to the NimbleBit team, but at some point after the iOS version. The game is up and running on Android, however, so it appears the delay may be due to testing, an attempt to synchronize the release with Amazon, or just to keep the game from being overshadowed by the Apple launch. We’ll definitely have full coverage of the game once it releases.

Oh, and that space in the name is important. Nimble Quest, not NimbleQuest, though it’s NimbleBit and not Nimble Bit. They’re keeping you on your toes!