New from Rocketcat Games, creator of Mage Gauntlet, Hook Champ and Super QuickHook, Punch Quest is an endless running game built on the quest completing/loot gathering system found in games like Jetpack Joyride. Instead of flying around like a little beetle, though, you play as a well-muscled lad or lass who simply must punch everything in sight, from bats to skeletons, dinosaurs to priceless vases, all in the name of gathering coinage and upgrading your skills. There are tons of things to unlock along with bosses to defeat, forked paths to take, and secrets to find, making this an absolutely epic diversion you won't be ready to put down for quite a while!
It all starts with a few simple punches: regular punches and uppercut punches, each accessible by a simple tap on either side of the screen. Your customizable character runs from left to right on his or her own, encountering enemies and obstacles in the 2D landscape much like in a platform game. By both carefully utilizing and wildly smacking the attack buttons, you can defeat foes both on the ground and in the air, knocking coins and other items loose in the process. Miss a punch or get hit by something dangerous and you'll lose a bit of health, and when your health is nil, your run will come to an end, allowing you to spend some coins to gain new abilities. Which isn't so bad, seeing as how the next time you go on a punch quest, you'll be even stronger!
Far from a straightforward jump and run game, Punch Quest liberally sprinkles variety throughout its terrain in the form of forked paths, treasure chests, and plenty of other secrets we'd love for you to uncover on your own (Laseraptor Rampage, anyone?). This, combined with the new abilities you'll unlock (new attacks, defensive maneuvers, etc.) makes for a surprisingly non-linear and strategic experience, even though you tread similar terrain each time you play. All for the sake of earning coins and completing creatively complex quests!
Analysis: Punch Quest may seem like a mindless brawler, but it's actually quite far from that. You'll need to pay attention to everything on the screen as you play, watching enemy patterns, attacks, and treasures that are only visible for a few fleeting moments. You have to make quick decisions when path forks drop your way, and spotting bits of treasure means you have just a few moments to put yourself in the position to grab them. You can't just smack some buttons and expect to win (though that does get you a little ways, we'll admit), but if you watch what's going on and time your hits accordingly, you can strategically smack some buttons and get some real punch questing accomplished!
The depth of Punch Quest aside, it's actually a pretty hectic and exciting game to play. Not only is the action non-stop, it's also incredibly satisfying to see dead skeletons crumble to your hits and coins fly out of defeated enemies. Especially when you get to the shop and get to spend those coins on new abilities that enhance and deepen the gameplay strategies, making each run longer, more complex, but also more powerful.
Visually, Punch Quest is superb, resembling a more polished 16-bit-era game with toned-down color palettes and excellent pixel art work. Great fun to look at, even when things are zooming by you at barely-punchable speeds. A few optional in-app purchases let you speed up the unlockable side of things, but as we like to see, a little patience is equal to a few real world coins, so you're never forced to indulge.
Punch Quest is well-tuned, exciting, easy to get into but with enough depth to keep you coming back for more. Rocketcat Games has proven its worth by investing in several different genres of mobile games, and this latest release proves the team has the talent and skill to pull off a highly addictive game in just about any style. No go punch some dinosaurs!
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on an iPad. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.