The Unexpected Quest is a unique adventure and strategy game developed by Rionix and published by PQube and OverGamez for PC and Nintendo Switch. This game creatively combines simple resource management with strategy, puzzle, and adventure elements to create a compact and enjoyable toybox-type game.
I had no idea what to expect going into The Unexpected Quest. Perhaps you can say I was, myself, on an unexpected quest to play this game. And the results were absolutely satisfying. The story is simple. Your ship is stranded, and you have to survive against monsters to rescue yourself. The plot quickly becomes irrelevant, though, as you are immersed in a beautiful game with creative and fun gameplay.
There are essentially two sides to the gameplay. First, there is the resource management aspect. You use workers to build buildings that either generate resources, hire warriors and other folks, and expand your capacity for hiring more people. Your resources are food, building material, and gold, which you generate from certain buildings, find in the wild, gain through potions, or drop from slain enemies. You need these resources to build more buildings and clear blocked paths.
These elements are all pretty casual. There is nothing that consumes your resources without your choosing to do so, and if you’re low on something you need to progress, you can usually just wait patiently to generate them or enough to sell for gold. I appreciate that you never get stuck because you misappropriated your resources. You can choose to challenge yourself to spread through the game’s eight, increasingly more challenging and longer levels. Or, you can take it slow and enjoy it at your own pace.
The other aspect of The Unexpected Quest is the adventure, almost point-and-click, gameplay. Each level has a specific larger goal, but throughout, you’ll encounter folks who offer you smaller quests that you’ll need to complete to progress or accumulate stronger items. These items can include potions that heal or bestow your characters with abilities or level them up. The item management system was a tad confusing at first. The game does not give great instructions on which buttons do what, so it took me a long time to figure out how to move items from my limited five-item holdings to the chest that allows you to save items for later or subsequent levels. Once I figured it all out on my own, the controls are generally just as simple as pointing and clicking.
The game itself starts simple, doing one small task at a time like clearing pathways, lighting campfires, and slaying one monster at a time. But quickly, the levels become more intricate and branching. You don’t have to solve their puzzles or explore the maps in any specific order necessarily, but clearing one quest may be necessary ultimately to clear another. Figuring out what I needed to do next to open a new pathway, procure a new character, or gain the strength or special power to defeat an enemy was always satisfying. And the difficulty did start to ramp up, though never to a point beyond the nice and casual pace the game nails excellently.
I also adore the look of the game and the sound of the game. It has a sort of claymation aspect to it that is absolutely endearing and makes exploring the maps over and over looking for things you missed all the more enjoyable. The character models have personality in their simplicity, and the toybox-like levels constantly give me the feeling of playing with little clay figures in a diorama world. While sometimes the music seemed to switch at near-random, every track was soothing and welcome. Suffice it to say, it’s very charming.
Truly my only real complaint about The Unexpected Quest is that it’s short and not especially replayable. While there are achievements and stars given out for clearing levels without losing any characters and collecting every hidden chest, you may well accomplish this on your first go of most levels, and if not, probably your second. There’s a timer on each level too, which I suppose you can use to try and beat your time, but that’s not something that ever seemed worthwhile to me. I appreciate that your items carry across each level, making your playthrough feel like one connected story. This also means that if you get stuck in later levels, you can start over to try and find chests you missed or carry over stronger potions into subsequent levels.
The Unexpected Quest was unexpectedly charming and quite fun to play. Its toybox feel and unique blend of resource management and adventure and puzzle-solving elements made my time with the game quite fun and quite enjoyable to look at.
The Unexpected Quest is available on January 22nd on Nintendo Switch and PC.
The Unexpected Quest
The Unexpected Quest was unexpectedly charming and quite fun to play. Its toybox feel and unique blend of resource management, adventure, and puzzle-solving elements made my time with the game quite fun and enjoyable to look at.