GAME REVIEW: Warhammer Quest (Steam PC)

Games Workshop produced Warhammer Quest in the mid-1990s. Rodeo Games have brought this game to the digital world and I have been anticipating its’ release quite avidly since I learned about it last year. Read on to find out if it holds up for this old dungeon-delver.

  • Platforms: PC (Steam), Mac (Steam), Linux (Steam), iOS
  • Developer: Rodeo Games
  • Publisher: Chilled Mouse
  • Platform Reviewed: PC (Steam)

Games Workshop produced Warhammer Quest in the mid-1990s. The game saw players take on the roles of four adventurers traversing through a dungeon that was different each time the game played to achieve one of the thirty or so end-goals that were possible. The game could even be played solo due to its modular nature and the rules for moving monsters. Also included were rules for “between adventure” travel and activities as well as a set of full role play rules.

Rodeo Games have brought this game to the digital world and I have been anticipating its’ release quite avidly since I learned about it last year. Read on to find out if it holds up for this old dungeon-delver.

Dungeon Adventures in the Warhammer World!

Lead your group of brave adventurers through the perilous dungeons of the Warhammer world in the search for wealth and glory! Based on the classic Games Workshop board game, Warhammer Quest is a mix of adventure, strategy and role-playing.

Many games have made the transition from table-top to desktop screen successfully and some have (in my opinion anyway) been improved by the reduced set up complexity and reduction of arguments about the rules. Rodeo Games have distilled Warhammer Quest into its base parts for the digital version, originally written for iOS and ported to the PC via Steam. The player can control his four characters in any order he chooses, which on one hand adds a level of tactical decision making to proceedings but on the other, does make the game feel very much a single player experience. Hot Seating in a random order doesn’t seem feasible, particularly with the mechanics of the game so boiled down to simple clicks to move, fight, cast spells and so on. Of course, sometimes the player wants to experience a board game in a solitary manner and so this certainly fits that bill.

The game runs smoothly but is very obviously an iOS port. When first loaded, for example, the game runs at a 1024×768 resolution sat in the centre of my screen. I played the game both on my Windows 8.1 tablet and my desktop PC. On my tablet, with the game thus positioned, I found it difficult to read the game’s instructions and informational dialogues and it took me a while to find the setting to change the resolution and stop the game running in a windowed mode. Once I had sorted the resolution, things drastically improved.

The game features a number of packs that can be purchased. Since I had pre-ordered the deluxe edition, I had automatically unlocked all the adventurer, creature and expansions that are currently available. Not using the DLC packs (except the “legendary weapons”) does not mean the player suffers overly, but getting them does give new options for tactics and party composition than the base game’s four adventurers offers. The legendary weapons are another matter. They serve to unbalance the early game somewhat, especially if the combat is set to “easy”.

The Playable Characters - Choose 4

The Playable Characters – Choose 4

Also available for purchase are a number of “gold” packs. Purchasing in-game gold allows the player to fast-track his party somewhat by allowing access to better equipment at an early stage. I doubt I will be purchasing any as I think it would stunt my enjoyment – but the option is there if wanted. To be clear, I’m not against purchasing in-game elements as a rule. I recently bought some GTA dollars so I could get an Aston Martin DB5 and I have purchased items in Guild Wars 2, Star Trek Online and a couple of other games to aid me. But in this case, I think the game literally becomes “pay to win” rather than “pay to be assisted” and there is little enjoyment for me in that.

Another element that detracts somewhat from the game is that in the digital version, the wizard characters have no internal store of power. If the random “winds of magic” roll at the beginning of each turn comes up badly then the wizard is almost nullified for that turn. I would like to have seen the Wizard having a limited pool of magic that could be dipped into if required – as was a feature of the board game version.

One element that I did like was the fact that although the quests encountered may be the same on each play-through, the game maintains the random element of its source. Dungeons and encounters vary on each play through. The dungeons themselves are fairly bland and repetitive in appearance, being digital representations of the cardboard tiles from the board game. One the one hand, I like this feeling of playing a table-top game, on the other it does make the game feel somewhat repetitive and provide a sense of “haven’t I been here before?”. This is enhanced by the lack of decoration in the rooms – each room or corridor is empty of anything save the monsters who may populate it. The static, top down view also lends itself to this feeling – it would have been nice to be able to alter the camera angle and see the characters and rooms from different angles.

Warhammer Quest - Dungeoneering

Warhammer Quest – Dungeoneering

A further enhancement from the original tabletop game is also welcome, however. In the board game, dungeons can become populated by a strange mix of creatures – particularly if miniatures from outside the base game are used. In this version, the dungeons are themed and the potential enemies inside are listed before a quest is begun. This helps the player to tailor their equipment and perhaps choose different adventurers for their party than they may otherwise do so. Bringing a Witch Slayer and Warrior Priest along with a stake or two may be a good idea when facing undead enemies for example.

Between quests, the adventurers can visit various settlements around the map, which is divided into three areas. Of course, two of these are only available to those who have purchased them. The map screen is pretty enough and functional enough to add to the game and I certainly got the same impression of an ongoing campaign for an adventuring group as I used to get linking games together back in the nineteen-nineties. I would have liked to have seen a random element to quests though – procedurally generated rewards and scenarios on top of the scripted ones.

Warhammer Quest  - Exploring the map

Warhammer Quest – Exploring the map

Ultimately, this is a simple port that struggles to find a place on the PC. It’s a game that will hold the interest of old table-top gamers filled with nostalgia (such as myself) but will probably not be more than a dip in and out game for others. It’s a casual game, wrapped up in a board game’s box. There’s nothing against this, but I was expecting a more in-depth game than that which is presented here. Perhaps the relatively cheap (for a PC game) price tag should have warned me.

I would perhaps recommend the iOS version of this game over the PC version, unless (like myself) you intend to play it on a Windows tablet – perhaps over a lunch break. Each quest should not take too long to complete which makes it an ideal dip-in game for such times.

Rating: 3 / 5
Reviewer: WedgeDoc

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