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Nintendo DS: Lock's Quest Review

by: Hollan ; edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

Lock's Quest is a real-time defense strategy game for the DS. It was released in September 2008 by 5TH Cell (the same company who developed Drawn to Life, also for the DS). Unfortunately, Lock's Quest lacks the ingenuity that made Drawn to Life so good.

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    The world of Lock's Quest is ruled by the mystery substance known as Source. Archineers use Source to build buildings, while the main baddie, Lord Agony (um, what? They might have well as named him Lord Evil Dude if they wanted it to be so painfully obvious about it) uses Source to power his army of clockwork soldiers. You control Lock (surprise surprise), a young archineer whose village is attacked by the clockwork army, which also causes his little sister to go missing. This is where the quest part of the title comes into play. Lock must go in search of his sister (helping everyone who needs it along the way, of course) and defeat Lord Evil Dude in order to save the world.

    Okay, so it's not the most original story-line in the world, but the clockwork army is very cool. It gets points for that, at least.

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    Game Play

    Lock's Quest's game play is divided into three parts: Village mode in which you control Lock as he walks around and talks to people (this can be done with the stylus and touch screen or the control pad, but who uses that unless they have to?). Build mode, in which you build defenses around a person or object Lock is supposed to protect from the clockworks. Build mode is timed, usually only a few minutes, and how much you can build is dependent upon how much Source you have. Finally there is Battle mode, in which you fight the clockworks. Or, more accurately, they try to break through your defenses while you repair them with Source. Lock can engage in combat, but it is usually unrealistic to do so. Turrets and traps can be set up to do the job remotely, which gives you time to repair any damaged walls before the clockworks tear them down. Battle mode is also timed and usually only lasts a few minutes. Controls for Build Mode and Battle Mode are the same as the controls for leading Lock around towns.

    I found the game play intuitive and fun, at first. It never lost its intuitiveness, but it does get tedious after a while. The campaigns are measured in days, and Lock can be stuck defending one location for a 10 day period. That's basically you fighting the same battle 10 times in a row. Sure, you get more Source with each go and can improve your defenses, but after about three battles I always found the perfect balance and spent the rest of the time maintaining it. And it got really tedious! It would have been better if the campaigns were shorter or the levels were harder to defend. Either way would have made it less repetitive.

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    Graphics and Music

    The graphics are pretty much on par with any DS game. The characters in the villages are cute little chibi versions of themselves that fit in nicely with the backgrounds. The colors are bright, and the shading is well done. However, the profile pictures of the characters (you know, the pictures they show when the characters are talking) look like Ben Ten caliber cartoon characters (as in, not very high quality). Perhaps I'm just more use to anime style characters, but I found them disappointing. Especially when compared to the cuteness of their chibi counterparts.

    Music wise I feel the same way. In fact, the music made no impact on me whatsoever. I had to turn my DS on and listen to the music just so I could remember what it sounded like and write about it. Pretty much it's a heroic tune that is supposed to rouse the player into action. It roused me to turn down the volume.

    I don't expect something spectacular for a DS game, but the developers could have at least tried to raise the graphics and music out of mediocrity.

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    At first, I found Lock's Quest a lot of fun and played for several hours. However, the further I got into the game the more tedious it became. Perhaps I'm just too good at defensive strategy games (unlikely), but it was so easy and repetitive I'm not sure I can consider it fun. Or maybe it is fun at first and then the fun slowly tapers off into annoyance. And then the annoyance at doing the same thing over and over again makes me want to play NinjaTown, because at least that game is funny.

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    I can't say Lock's Quest is a bad game (I did give it a thumbs up, after all), but it is just so-so. The only thing about the whole game that really sticks out in my head is the cool idea of a clockwork army. If only 5TH Cell had spent more time refining it and pushing the envelope (like they did with Drawn to Life), it could have been a really great game. As it is, Lock's Quest is an OK game in every respect. If you like defensive strategy games, go ahead and play it. But I would suggest to rent before you buy.