Under The Radar is a weekly look at games that have ended up hidden through lack of coverage, but shouldn’t have. If you have a game that you think should be featured here, leave it in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out.
I’ve been thinking a lot about satire and parody lately, no doubt due the election season and hours of The Daily Show. One of the unfortunate trends in video games today is the fact that they don’t explore a variety of themes, sticking close to experiences where the goal is to “kick ass.” While I’ve definitely enjoyed that theme and don’t want it to end, my tastes are bigger than that and I’m sad that I can’t satisfy them in the world of video games. That brings me to this week’s title: DLC Quest.
Developed by the Canadian-based Going Loud Studios, DLC Quest accomplishes what very few games do: producing genuine laughs. Humor is a hard thing to accomplish, even more so when some of the most important elements of comedic delivery can be shut down by having an external force (the player) involved. DLC Quest manages to create humor by adapting the medium then baffling our expectations.
The game is couched within the conventional frame of a 2D platformer where players are in control of a young hero who is determined to rescue a princess. Right from the very beginning though, the game starts by going to the extremes of gamers’ fears regarding DLC: players have to use in-game money to buy animation for their character and the ability to walk to the left of the screen. Basic things that gamers expect of titles are placed within this mock store and it gets patently more ridiculous as the game goes on.
While it’s not subtle, the game is a sort of brief essay that mocks the extremes of both the consumers’ apprehensions and the producers’ business models. Most importantly, it effectively uses the game medium to deliver the message. While it may not satisfy every intellectual appetite I have, DLC Quest serves as model of what games can do to appeal to the wide tastes of gamers.