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Review: Gordian Quest Remains Nostalgically Uninspired

If you like entertaining, yet easily-forgettable games, then Gordian Quest is for you.
Gordian Quest Artwork
Screenshot via Mixed Realms/Swag Soft Holdings Pte Ltd

Gordian Quest is an ambitious fusion of classic RPG nostalgia and contemporary gaming mechanics. This game successfully taps into the nostalgia of old-school RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and Ultima, making it an obvious choice for fans of old-school gaming. From the detailed art style to its fantastical exploration, Gordian Quest is the perfect combination of old-school and modern gameplay elements.

Drawing inspiration from classics while incorporating modern elements like rogue-lite features and turn-based combat, the game aims to create an engaging and memorable experience for its players. In this Gordian Quest review, we’ll explore the game’s strengths and areas where it falls short, offering a balanced perspective on the Gordian Quest experience.

Biggest Takeaways

  • Most of the tutorials are a joke. You’ll pretty much just be teaching yourself how to play the game.
  • Gordian Quest incorporates a lot of Dungeons & Dragons elements into its gameplay, so if that’s your thing, then you’ll probably really like this game.
  • There is no way to manually save your game, you’re constantly relying on the game to autosave all of your progress for you.
  • The story is hard to follow and uninspiring.
  • The combat is the best part of the game. If you love turn-based combat in RPGs, then you’ll love Gordian Quest.
  • The artwork and attention to visual detail are impressive.
  • Final Score: 6.5/10

Related: Review: Arcadian Atlas is a Map-tastically Mediocre Adventure

Uninspired Storyline

Heroes in Gordian Quest
Screenshot via Mixed Realms/Swag Soft Holdings Pte Ltd

Though Gordian Quest’s storyline aspires to capture the essence of classic RPG narratives, ultimately falls short in delivering an inspired and engaging tale. The game’s narrative lacks the depth, complexity, and character development necessary to immerse players in its fantastical world. Instead, it often feels formulaic and secondary to the gameplay mechanics.

Character motivations and interactions with NPCs are often superficial, shallow, and consistently repetitive, leaving players with a sense of detachment from the in-game world. In essence, Gordian Quest’s storyline fails to capture the player’s imagination, relying more on RPG tropes than crafting a truly compelling narrative.

Tutorials? Never Heard of Her

Map in Gordian Quest
Screenshot via Mixed Realms/Swag Soft Holdings Pte Ltd

I wasn’t exaggerating when I said you have to teach yourself how to play the game. Gordian Quest does offer some tutorials, but they mostly just explain what you need to do, not how to do it. The absence of clear and informative guidance in the early stages can lead to a steep learning curve, leaving players to decipher the intricate deckbuilding mechanics, character management, and strategic combat without adequate assistance.

While some players may appreciate the challenge of learning through trial and error, many may find themselves overwhelmed and unsure of how to effectively utilize the game’s features. A more structured and comprehensive tutorial system could have provided a smoother onboarding experience, making the game more accessible and a lot more enjoyable (and less confusing) for a much broader audience.

No Save November?

Rift Lord in Gordian Quest
Screenshot via Mixed Realms/Swag Soft Holdings Pte Ltd

It may surprise you to learn that Gordian Quest doesn’t have a manual save feature. Instead, it relies solely on its autosave function. This is an issue for many reasons, not the least of which is its constant bugs and glitches regarding autosaves. While the autosave function is convenient in theory, it often falls short in practice due to numerous glitches and bugs, causing players to lose progress or encounter significant setbacks.

In a game that offers a complex RPG experience, the ability to manually save at crucial points or before significant decisions can provide players with a sense of control and assurance. It would essentially offer a safety net, allowing them to revisit specific moments or experiment with different strategies without the risk of losing hours of gameplay due to autosave issues. A manual save feature would not only enhance the overall player experience but also alleviate the frustration associated with the unreliable autosave function.

Dungeons & Dragons & Deckbuilding

Might Check Event in Gordian Quest
Screenshot via Mixed Realms/Swag Soft Holdings Pte Ltd

Gordian Quest incorporates numerous elements inspired by Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) into its gameplay, offering players a taste of the immersive storytelling found in classic tabletop role-playing games. The dice-based mechanics, akin to D&D’s iconic use of polyhedral dice, introduce an element of chance and strategy, adding a lot of much-needed depth to combat and decision-making.

Gordian Quest’s quests and story events also echo the dynamic narratives found in D&D campaigns, with player choices shaping the direction of the story. During story events, players have the ability to roll dice to determine the outcomes of various interactions. This allows players to take a modicum of control over the game’s narrative, creating a unique and enjoyable experience for those who appreciate the classic role-playing elements of Dungeons & Dragons.

Surprisingly Complex Combat

Victory in Gordian Quest
Screenshot via Mixed Realms/Swag Soft Holdings Pte Ltd

Gordian Quest’s main saving grace is its combat. The fusion of turn-based strategy and deckbuilding mechanics creates a unique and highly tactical battle system; it requires players to carefully plan each move, manage their meager resources, and consider party composition, adding layers of depth to every encounter.

Whether it’s orchestrating a perfect combo of cards or making critical decisions in the heat of battle, Gordian Quest’s combat keeps players constantly engaged and consistently challenged. The satisfaction of mastering the intricacies of the combat system is where the game truly shines, making it a must-play for enthusiasts of strategic RPG gameplay.

With how long many of the battles drag on, I wish there was an auto-battle feature, or at least an x2 Speed option.

Artfully Aesthetic

Screenshot via Mixed Realms/Swag Soft Holdings Pte Ltd

The visual appeal of Gordian Quest is unmatched. The hand-drawn artwork is a testament to the dedication of the developers; it immerses players in a beautifully crafted, medieval-inspired fantasy world full of beautifully drawn horrors. From intricate character designs to meticulously designed landscapes, every aspect of this game exudes a sense of aesthetic depth and immersion.

The art in Gordian Quest not only enhances the overall experience but also stands as one of the game’s most alluring and memorable aspects, making it a true testament to the power of visual storytelling in gaming. Also, they drew Jun the Blacksmith way too well and I may have developed a tiny, little, massive crush on her. Why did they have to make her so hot if there’s no romance in this game????

Final Conclusion

Gordian Quest Main Menu Screen
Screenshot via Mixed Realms/Swag Soft Holdings Pte Ltd

Gordian Quest presents a mixed gaming experience. On one hand, its visual appeal, incorporation of D&D elements, and the intricacies of its combat system are truly outstanding. The hand-drawn art, in particular, stands out as a visual treat that draws players into a captivating world.

However, these strengths are regrettably undercut by certain shortcomings. The lackluster storyline, often failing to engage players with its narrative, leaves much to be desired. Additionally, the absence of a manual save feature is an ongoing source of frustration, exacerbated by the glitch-prone autosave system.

Additionally, while the game’s complex mechanics could have been a unique selling point, the lack of comprehensive tutorials leaves players struggling to find their footing. While Gordian Quest shines in some areas, it falls short of creating a truly memorable gaming experience, ultimately leaving players with a mixed bag of impressions.

If you’re a fan of D&D, turn-based strategic combat, and don’t mind uninspired storylines, then you’ll probably like this game.

However, if you love lore, character backstories, manual save features, engaging storylines, and knowing what the hell is going on at the beginning of games, then you may want to skip this one for now.

While it excels in some aspects, Gordian Quest’s collective issues negatively impact the overall player experience, ultimately leaving the game with a sense of untapped potential and missed opportunity. Despite this, it’s not necessarily a bad game, and many people will likely still find enjoyment in its RPG elements.

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About the author

Allysen Pierce

Allysen Pierce is a freelance writer with a passion for gaming who has been a part of the Gamer Journalist team since May 2022. Her main passions are horror games and dating sims (especially combinations of the two), but she has been known to play literally anything that is put in front of her. Her current favorite games include Skyrim, I Was a Teenage Exocolonist, Cult of the Lamb, Slaughter Horse, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. When she's not playing games (or writing about them), she can be found reading, baking, watching horror movies, or playing with her cat.

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