If you don't think grinding is a dirty word when it comes to RPGs and you love dungeon crawling, Mitsuhiro Okada's completely free, simple, and devilishly addictive Minute Quest for iOS and Android is calling your name. You play a nameless hero sent off by a lazy king to... uh... I'm not sure exactly. Slay a whole bunch of monsters? Doing so involves advancing through screens of enemies as you journey forth from the castle, every enemy increasing in power the further you get. Just tap the left or right side of the screen to move, and move into enemies to attack. Slay enough and you'll level up, earning five points to distribute to your attributes. Die, and, well, you're booted all the way back to the castle (don't worry, you keep all gold, items, and levels) to start again, though you will eventually unlock a means to speed through places you've been before. As you slaughter your way to the right, you can find chests with different monster pets that provide bonuses as well as helping you fight, and you'll discover different shops you can buy new equipment types at as well. Though it looks easy and even too simple, behind its carefree retro charm Minute Quest has a surprising amount of depth and nary an in-app purchase to be found.
So what makes Minute Quest more challenging than it seems? Well, largely it's the addition of different monster attacks and weaknesses. Weapons deal different types of damage like jabbing and bashing, for instance, and monsters can be weak to specific types, in addition to dealing specific types of damage themselves, even elemental magic damage. Just tap on any enemy onscreen to see their statistics. As such, it's important to consider your equipment at every opportunity, since you can only change your loadout at certain locations. Damage type and resistance plays a huge part in how easy the game is, making you pick your equipment beyond merely what has the highest numbers, and the game is good and giving you just enough opportunities to swap your junk around when you need it.
That being said, Minute Quest is still very, very grindy, from levels to money, and with the lack of any sort of story or even additional gameplay mechanics, it gets repetitive very quickly. For some reason, I was also unable to manipulate the volume through the use of, y'know, my phone volume keys, and had to change it through the game's option menu, which is a minor but strange annoyance. Still, the game's simplified approach to hack-and-slash style RPG gameplay makes it oddly addictive, and the colourful retro visuals give it a lot of charm as you keep stabbing (or burning, or smashing... ) to see what you'll encounter next. It's a great example of how to make simple, streamlined RPG action that's perfect for pulling out of your pocket whenever you have a few minutes, and the fact that it's completely free is just the icing on the cake. With updates of new monsters and items coming all the time, Minute Quest is a fun and breezy little app that might just steal your heart and your spare time.