Daventry, a kingdom with zany knights, vicious badgers and a magical mirror, ruled by King Graham the Brave, or the Wise, or the Compassionate, depending on the player who affects his life from his teenage years as a knight to his golden years as a king.
King’s Quest 2015 is a game created by Sierra Entertainment and The Odd Gentleman, based on the original series from 1983 to 1998. It’s a 5 part, episodic adventure that follows the life of our hero, Graham, from the beginning of his knighthood in the Kingdom of Daventry to his reign as the king. The game is a narrated by an elderly King Graham, voiced by Christopher Llyod, who is telling his life’s story to his granddaughter, Gwendolyn, with the help of a magic mirror that shows them the events of his past.
One of the first things to notice about this game is the stunning artwork. The environments are beautifully painted with soft shades, a vibrant color palette and layers of shadows and light. In fact, the artists hand paint the textures that are eventually applied to all the 3D models. The characters are designed in a wonderfully whimsical and cartoonish style, and each has a unique silhouette and color palette that convey his/her personality. The swift and haughty knight W.H.I.S.P.E.R, or Walter Harry Ignatius Sally Percival Eduardo Ramon Jr. the Third of Modesto, is adorned with the shiniest armor, a long orange cape, and a matching mane. His top-heavy torso and lean legs emphasize the long hours of training and grooming that eventually turned him into the swiftest and nimblest knight in the kingdom, if not the most narcissistic. The wise, eccentric Hobblepots are an elderly couple and master alchemists, adorned with layers of beads and robes with monochromatic color schemes. They are both quite short and hunched over, but Muriel’s figure is engulfed by layers of lavender robes and jewelry while Chester’s thin arms can be seen under his worn-out, tan cloak.
As for actual gameplay, KQ 2015 is essentially a point-and-click adventure in a colorful, atmospheric world. Since there are multiple endings, the game can differ depending on whichever attribute the player wishes to bestow onto Graham (Courage, Wisdom or Compassion). Choices do matter, and they not only affect the values and the relationships of Graham but also the kind of person Gwendolyn becomes in the future. The puzzles are not too difficult, but they require quite a bit of traveling throughout the gigantic world. For me, being able to find them was the biggest challenge. I spent hours observing every clickable item even if it was just there for decoration or for a quick laugh. King Graham LOVES using puns much to Gwendolyn’s dismay.
One of the main faults is that there isn’t an option to skip cutscenes or dialogue. For more antsy players such as myself, this can be quite tedious, especially when it takes a lot of time just to travel to different locations. From the story’s perspective, this game is an elderly man’s recollection of his life and skipping dialogue or cutscenes could take away from that vision. However, for those playing the same chapter whether, for fun or to try out a different route, it can be very tedious to rewatch the same scenes. Even Gwendolyn remarks at this, asking her grandfather if she has “to hear the story about how you [Graham] took forever to tiptoe across that tree? Again?” to which he replies “No. I guess not.”
Nevertheless, the quirky charm and whimsical beauty of KQ 2015 makes this game worth playing. The first chapter itself has great replay value and is free on Steam. It’s up to the player whether he/she wants to outwit enemies or to kill them with kindness. Whether to bake a pie the size of a horse or to fight a dragon. King’s Quest 2015’s beautiful world, light-hearted humor and zany characters make it a great game and a fantastic introduction to a classic series to younger gamers.