Why didn't we think of it first? That's the question that ran through our minds while playing Nimble Quest, the addictive time waster from NimbleBit, developer behind the critically acclaimed Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes. Broken into its basic elements, this enjoyable iPhone and iPad title blends that old cell phone game Snake with an action RPG. The result is a casual-friendly and fun effort guaranteed to put a smile on thousands of faces. At least while their little group of warriors is alive, anyway.
Just as Snake challenges players to guide a constantly growing critter around the screen without crashing into walls, Nimble Quests asks them to do the exact same thing with a variety of knights, archers and pirates. Except in this case, NimbleBit adds enemies to the equation in the form of zombies, bats, spiders and other baddies gamers must destroy from a minimum safe distance.
Kill a certain number of critters, and they're able to pick up another warrior, then another, and so on and so forth. Over time, they'll amass a lengthy troop capable of dealing massive damage while at the same time gathering all the collectible gems and goodies left behind.
It's one heck of a mash-up, and the simplistic controls (swipe up, down, left, right) make it accessible to people of all skill levels. Being a freemium game, though, means Nimble Quest doesn't offer much in the way of content up front. Yes, it contains never-ending dungeons and a handful of buffs and items in the shop, but these things cost virtual currency, while advancing past the fourth board will take one heck of an effort, along with a bit of luck to ensure players don't accidentally "paint themselves into a corner," so to speak; it's easy to pin the characters between monsters and a wall. Get far enough and croak, and the developers allow users to continue for the price of gold coins, of course, and these are difficult to come by.
That said, yes, Nimble Quest features the same amount of in-app purchase options as the next free-to-play video game, but players needn't break out the pitchforks and torches just yet. In fact, after paying 250 gems to upgrade our leader, we made that back and even exceeded it during the next turn. The more conservative a person is, the easier it will be to stretch his or her wallet.
Finally, there's Arena mode. While not particularly deep, this mini-game allows users to join a guild, whereupon which they're able to attain high scores to improve the guild's position within the online leaderboard. Even better, gems obtained during play carry over, so there's an added incentive to pitching in.
Now add colorful retro-inspired visuals and music that would have fit right in with the best games from the 90s, and Nimble Quest is another quality addition to NimbleBit's growing smartphone and tablet library. Definitely worth picking up on iOS devices, and we can only hope an Android version isn't far behind.
What's Hot:Addictive mash-up that blends Snake with an action RPG, near effortless controls, unlimited levels, fun mix of different characters, bonus Arena mode.
What's Not:Tough to advance very far without IAP or heavy grinding.