Well, it took longer than I had hoped, but we've finally seen the release of King's Quest Chapter 2: Rubble Without A Cause. How does this episode stack up against the first one? Is it worth the purchase price? Let's discuss.
Title: King's Quest: Rubble Without A Cause
Developer: The Odd Gentlemen
Platforms: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
Price: $9.99 (per episode) $39.99 (complete collection)
What Is It?
Rubble Without A Cause is the latest installment in The Odd Gentlemen's revival of King’s Quest, the classic Sierra Games adventure series. It continues the saga of King Graham as he recounts his adventures throughout his lifetime. In this episode, Graham and some of Daventry's citizens are kidnapped by goblins, and it's up to the newly-appointed king to deliver himself and his subjects from captivity. In order to do so, he must both outsmart his goblin captors, and keep the other prisoners from getting too weak.
Although I enjoyed this episode, it wasn't quite as good as the first one. For one thing, there wasn’t as much humor this time around. Granted, the characters are in a more dire situation — being prisoners, and all — but I really didn't feel the same level of character development that I felt in the first episode. Additionally, the game forces you to make some tough choices. Depending on what you do, and the order in which you do it, you may not be able to save all of the townspeople.
A Strange Sense of Regret
The ultimate goal is to devise a way to free at least one of the townspeople from his or her cell so they can help Graham escape, while simultaneously finding ways to feed all of them so they don't pass out. The episode can still be completed without saving all of the townspeople, but there is a trophy for finding the ideal solution. I was not able to figure out that solution on my first attempt. I suppose this could be considered a motivation to replay the episode, but my initial reaction to this "Sophie's Choice" story mechanic was a negative one. In the end, though, I came to terms with it, when I realized that there actually is a way to finish the episode without losing any townspeople.
Much like the first episode, the puzzles in Rubble Without A Cause are sufficiently challenging, with multiple ways to progress. The main difference is that my decisions in Episode 1 never made me feel the sense of regret I felt when I wasn't able to save a character in Episode 2. I suppose that's my primary complaint about Rubble Without A Cause. It does, however, make me want to go back and figure out how to get that trophy.
What I Played
I've played through the entire episode to completion once, but I will probably play it again for a better outcome.
Should You Buy It?
If you already have the season pass, then Rubble Without A Cause is a serviceable installment. It's not quite as good as Episode 1, but it wasn't terrible, either. It still features the same excellent voice talent and interesting puzzles. If you're looking for a fun adventure game, then I can still recommend King's Quest as a whole. But, if you only have the money for one of these episodes, then you should definitely go back and start out with Episode 1: A Knight to Remember