As part of the Steam Summer Festival, Rionix and PQube released a demo for an intriguing Puzzle based Real Time Strategy called The Unexpected Quest. With your ship having capsized in a storm, some of those that survived set out in order to light beacons for the other survivors but like any journey, it’s not without its trials and obstacles along the way and those that nature has provided will be the least of your worries.
Real Time Strategies like the Command & Conquer, StarCraft or the Age of Empires series were very prominent back in the day but we haven’t seen much in the style in the recent years. We’ve seen hybrids such as the SpellForce series that has recently made a return and it’s these entries that show that you don’t just need to focus on resource gathering and troop building, there can be more to it than that, and that’s where The Unexpected Quest comes in. A bit in its title, I had not expected to find such an interesting blend of puzzle elements in a Real Time Strategy as you need to collect resources and remove obstacles in order to face off against the enemies that are heading your way.
Probably one of the most prominent features is that you get to see almost everything upfront. You don’t need to massively scroll around a large map uncovering a fog of war, instead, everything is just about in front of you allowing you from the start to set out how you’re going to approach a situation. Currently there are only three stages available however while the first gets your feet dry as you just came out of the ocean, the second gets them wet again as you head into battle against zombies that are currently trying to eat the townspeople that you’ve come across and the third introduces one of the larger maps after you’ve run away from the zombies.
What I found interesting, and maybe this makes it an RTS-lite, is that you don’t need to select your workers to tell them to do something. Instead, you simply need to click on what needs to be picked up or built and they’ll do it. The same can be said for your enemies. If you need them to be taken out, you simply click on them and then one of your soldiers will charge forward in order to do battle. You can queue up actions for each of these units which helps as a worker can only bring one bag of gold or one unit of food at a time. Building structures is the same thing, only one worker can be working on this so just make sure that if there’s a lot to pick up that you’ve taken care of before building to make things go faster. Just make sure to not queue actions up around an enemy as your worker will run away screaming.
For combat, while the same approach does apply as mentioned above where you simply need to click on an enemy, your unit types themselves can only do battle against specific foes. Warriors will face off against warriors and beasts of the same caliber. Archers will go up against archers or flying units. Finally Wizards will go up against foes of the arcane. Also like your workers, you can’t send in two or three warriors against one zombie or giant spider. Instead, everything is one-on-one so if there are three separate enemies to be taken out, you have to send three separate units simultaneously and make sure you have some healing on hand as they may need it.
Thankfully, you can stack the odds in your favour by leveling up your troops’ weapons at the armory or keeping items that boost their levels on hand. What I really found neat was that these boost items don’t stack so a gauntlet that raises both your Warriors and your Archers will render the sword and the bow that you have useless. This is great in that you have a limited on hand inventory, but in the worst case, items can always be put into a chest for later usage and can be carried over to the other stages.