Top-down Souls-likes are all the rage right now. Death’s Door and Tunic have grabbed headlines as inspiring 2D adventures with challenging combat. Book Quest follows this pattern. However, as this Book Quest review will demonstrate, it won’t be receiving the same kind of adoration.
From the off the game is an empty feeling experience. A Souls-like without a soul. The player has a basic attack (which improves with weapon upgrades) and a dodge move. Yet, just because the pieces are in place it doesn’t mean the gameplay offers an engaging puzzle. The standard enemies offer little challenge. And this is why the abrupt ramp-up in difficulty against the bosses feels so out of place.
Much like the above mentioned Death’s Door and Tunic, the game attempts to recreate the Souls combat in a The Legends of Zelda inspired environment. However, Book Quest feels as though someone overheard what makes a 2D The Legend of Zelda game good, then tried to build one without ever playing any of Nintendo’s franchise. A complete lack of understanding of the nuance that makes The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past such a compelling experience even to this day leaves Book Quest feeling like an adventure completely devoid of character.
The emptiness of Book Quest‘s world, the random difficulty spikes and some incredibly annoying mini-games are simply the tip of the iceberg, however. The localisation is also appalling. Many misspelled or misused words have made it into the English language version of the game. So much so, even to the point where you will receive inaccurate guidance as to where your next objective lies.
There is one redeeming feature, however. Book Quest is yet another eastasiasoft title that’s a dream for Achievement/Trophy hunters. Playing on Xbox Series X for this Book Quest review we were granted 100G for simple starting the game. Though much of the combat is annoying, if you have the patience unlocking all of the game’s meta tokens is easily within reach, should you be so inclined.
Ultimately, Book Quest is an incredibly disappointing title. It simply doesn’t stand up against the competition even this early in an emerging genre. Whether the developer intended to create a unique experience and fell wide of the mark, or simply present a cash grab, is unknown. However, at this point it would be impossible to recommend Book Quest to anyone.