There's been another long break and now we have another new episode for King's Quest. Not as long of a wait as we had before but still it seems like The Odd Gentlemen do like to take their time to get each out. None the less here we go with the third and halfway point of the overall King's Quest that Sierra has tasked them with building. This is where things usually get insane in episodic adventures and we had a chance to see if it did just that. Here's our review of King's Quest: Once Upon A Climb.
The general story continues on as old King Graham spins the tales of his exploits to his grandchildren. In Once Upon A Climb we have reached the inevitable question of where and how Graham met his beloved wife and all of the madness that had revolving around it. It's the fairy tale love story we all know and love with a King's Quest twist on top of it all.
This has to be the slowest paced episode of King's Quest to date. Insanely slow and, sadly, dull episode in almost every manner of the sense. This is where the action or major build up should have been but instead there was next to nothing outside of a very small event that was easy to gloss over. I actually had to play this whole episode in about three different sittings due to the lack of action; something I have yet to experience with any of the other episodes on King's Quest. This wasn't only the story side of things either.
We've experienced it in the mix multiple times in King's Quest so far that the story and dialog sequences get some kind of break between with at least some minor action or intense action. Usually these are some small QTE or combat sequences to keep the pacing going. While they were not completely removed, these kinds of things were so short or sparse that everything boiled down to collecting and talking. Talking about the most boring of things with humor oddly lost. At least lost to me as it was so generic and so predictable even these events added to the dullness of the episode.
Also, more than in either of the other two episodes, all of the rules and choices seemed to work out more sporadic than following any kind of logic path. For instance while playing a dialog based game there is a question that makes one of the princesses seem to value following protocol when it comes to the medical profession. When a second question like that comes up she seems to not even care anymore without reason. Almost like the episode was guiding a specific result and not letting you choose your own path. I thought King's Quest was all about the choice here.
For all the gripes here I will have to give credit to some of the puzzles that were placed in this episode of King's Quest. Specifically the gear puzzle that has to be completed in the game. I think this is one of the few events in this episode that kept my attentions without me wanting it to be over. Of course it was all over quickly as it was just an obstacle to overcome but it was one of the shining pieces of the episode. Add more things like this as we head into the last two and The Odd Gentlemen will have at least a basic saving grace no matter how dull the rest might be.
Continuing on the puzzle path here, and maybe this was what led to the rest of the let downs, the very first puzzle you come across in the episode deals with time and a bit of collecting. I won't spoil it for you but I thought it was going to set the tone for how the rest of the episode was going to play out. Pretty much you shifted through the three time periods of this King's Quest version trying to figure out where everything goes. It was a short, nice logic puzzle and was perfectly executed. I'd love to see more like this in future episodes. Just don't start us off with an amazing bang and lead us into snoresville afterward.
As a standalone episode, which it can be, I can't really put my seal of approval on this one. It was a struggle to get through this episode of King's Quest in general and if you are looking for just this experience you will be sadly upset. It does play into the larger picture of things a bit so if you are in for the long haul on King's Quest it is worth powering through. Even the best TV shows and films have what feel like filler content to get to the big payoff and that is just how Once Upon A Climb felt for me.
I give King's Quest: Once Upon A Climb Four Different Cheeses on the Cheese scale.
King's Quest — Once Upon A Climb
King's Quest: Once Upon A Climb was developed by The Odd Gentlemen and published by Sierra Entertainment for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC on April 26th 2015. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.