What have I done? Sweet Jesus, what have I done? Everything I touch turns to rubble! The fate of six souls rests squarely on my weakened shoulders. Who lives and who dies is my responsibility and mine alone. There is absolutely no room for error. Um… can I go back to the simple, straight-forward King’s Quest?
In my review of King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember I rattled on endlessly about how King’s Quest has been neutered by baby cowards and turned into a baby game for baby chumps. The developer must have gotten the message because King’s Quest: Rubble Without a Cause will break you.
Decisions is the theme of King’s Quest: Rubble Without a Cause. Graham is now king and must do what is right for everybody, regardless if it is right for an individual. You must decide what kind of king you are going to be and The Odd Gentlemen forces you to leave natural way of being.
King’s Quest: Rubble Without a Cause doesn’t care one iota about your beliefs and will make you choose between a rock and a hard place. There is no right decision, but that doesn’t mean there is a wrong decision.
While the puzzles alone aren’t any more difficult than they were in A Knight to Remember, the order in which you must figure out the puzzles is very difficult. You will make a mistake. There will be dire consequences. You will wake up the next morning and want to replay the game to figure out what else you could have done to get the best outcome.
The vast majority of this chapter takes place underground in a goblin dungeon. That in an of itself isn’t so bad, but when compared to the beautiful variety of scenery in chapter one, it kind of feels like a gyp. The artwork is still beautiful but there’s only so many different ways to paint a rock. I get that the dark caverns served as a great metaphor, but if there’s one thing I missed from A Knight to Remember it was the variety.
In addition to all of the rocks, rooms and goblins in the world looking more or less the same, the way you interact with the world is always the same. I really enjoyed how chapter one introduced some first-person segments along with some races and quick-time events. Rubble Without a Cause didn’t need to repeat all of those same things, but I was a little disappointed that the gameplay never really strayed from the regular point-and-click style.
However, I was not disappointed with the day cycle and the endless struggle to keep all the inmates alive. That was a very new and unique addition to the King’s Quest world. So while the individual segments in the game aren’t incredibly varied, the entire overarching puzzle design is something I’ve never experienced in a King’s Quest game.
I was really impressed by the depth the story has reached. Chapter one was a very happy go lucky introduction to the world. Chapter two is Empire Strikes Back. I was a little worried before playing Rubble Without a Cause that the story would stay consistently sweet. I was quickly proven wrong.
King’s Quest hasn’t all of a sudden turned into a Lars von Trier movie. But I thought the exploration into Graham’s deep, dark sense of self doubt was a great way to build the story moving forward. Although I’m not too excited to see the repercussions of my poor decision making. Some people in the kingdom aren’t going to be very happy with me.
I might want to replay King’s Quest: Rubble Without a Cause before chapter three is release… again… yeah. I restarted the game. So what? I still screwed up.