September 16, 2013 12:20 PM | John Polson
As a puzzle adventure and a side scrolling platformer, Chris Davis' Spud's Quest delivers. You alternate between controlling Spud and his friend-turned-frog Prince Charming, who are on a journey to uncover four elemental essences that have the power to banish evil and remove the frog curse.
Spud's Quest mixes up the puzzle and platform sequences quite well: some require speaking to people, others are Sokoban-like (pushing boxes and other items), and several require finding and dropping the necessary item somewhere specific to advance. Some areas require gaining new abilities to progress, as well, a trope Metroid fans should be all too familiar with. Enemies aren't annoyingly tough, and you have unlimited, short-ranged ammo to dispose of them.
Similar to another S-named quest, Spud also has a day and night feature, where certain variables change given the time. Fortunately, Spud is willing to sleep in almost anyone's bed to pass the time, so I never had to wait around for an event to happen.
I met with only a couple frustrating things along the way. There is a tower that, as the developer explains, randomly generates between 1 to 20 rooms that look exactly the same. You're given no indication to keep ascending, or that you should follow a particular pattern to break what feels like an endless loop, so be warned.
More frustrating and core to the experience is that Spud can only carry four items at a time. Forget for a moment that we don't know where in Spud's presumably naked blue body it stores things, but I quickly ran into more items than I could carry. You never gain an ability to carry more than four things, so this forces a kind of backtracking that I wouldn't normally support.
However, old-school adventurers may be used to this kind of limitation. It helps that Spud's Quest delivers a vibrant, 16-bit atmosphere, traversed with tight platforming controls and more easily with portals once activated. With tons of collectibles, the game will last for several hours more than a movie and, beyond a cliche plot and a few hiccups, deliver a fun experience, easily earning its Â£4.99/$7.95 price tag.