Crypt Quest is actually two games in one. You have a version that supports the Pocket PC while also being able to play on the regular PC. Moreover, with a simple file swapping, you can move your progress from one platform to another. Crypt Quest is actually a puzzle game although it looks very much like a platform game. The goal of the title is to get the persona king out of his own castle. In this day and age of Pocket PC game development, graphical presentation seems to be one of the most attractive things. Titles with good PC quality graphics or even better, 3D engines, seem to garner the most attention. However, Crypt Quest is easily able to debunk some of those rather shallow titles by providing something gamers think is key to a title's success; gameplay. Originally only the iPaq was supported but now all three major Pocket PC platforms are supported. Moreover, there is even a version for the venerable Aero as well so there this title is compatible with just about any Pocket PC machine.
The castle is organized into several levels for a total of fifty levels. Using the directional pads you can easily move the on screen persona around. The graphics are humorously drawn and there are no significant amounts of animation. But like all simplistic titles, I actually preferred it without anything superfluous. On the PC version, the
graphics are slightly enhanced but they both work the same. The only difference is on larger levels, there is no excessive panning on the monitor while there is quite a lot of panning on the PDA screen.
Since each level features a complete set of trapped doors, you have to use everything from keys to boxes to solve the obstacles. Most of them are really logic puzzles that test one's IQ than really reflexes. As the game is as slow as a turn-based game, it gives ample time for one to think up a solution. For me, however, I found that I had to use trial and error a lot in the beginning. Once I got a hang of how certain puzzles were solved, the more difficult levels had solutions that became more apparent. Still, those who are not entirely patient may be driven away especially with the presentation.
The early levels are easily appreciated though. They can be completed in a matter of minutes and there is always the option to shut off the game and return to it later. The title also features quick buttons to jump back to previous puzzles so you can replay ones you have already accomplished but with 50 levels there is ample playing time. The last
puzzles take almost forever to solve with some bordering on one hour in actual playing time. I often wish then there was this quick save or quick load option or at the very least some undo function with an extensive history to it.
Regardless, this title is expertly adapted for portable play. It can easily be played with one hand. Moreover, the graphics adapt very well to the absence of backlight, probably owing to simplicity than anything else. As such, battery consumption is at a minimum as well. If there were faults with this game is that veterans of these puzzle games will
quickly realize there isn't much gameplay life after the 50 levels. Though the cost of the game is low, I still found myself yearning for something more like an on the fly map generator. I understand that most of the maps are probably handcrafted but veterans will easily memorize maps. Though I was not particularly savvy with this puzzle game, I was
still able to memorize some maps that made replaying the game a bit boring.
Still, for its value, Crypt Quest is a great game. The ability to continue a game on PC is interesting and I wonder why other developers are not embracing this. It certainly has its merits. On the whole, I still felt that those easily frustrated or those looking for a way to show off their Pocket PC will be wary of this title. Its price is hard to beat despite any expectations and if you are willing to give it a try, you might be hooked as well. One final note is on compatibility. With support even for the Aero, this title could be a boon for those Pocket PC owners who keep missing out on the latest games.
[ 08/10 ] Addictiveness
[ 13/15 ] Gameplay
[ 11/15 ] Graphics
[ 10/10 ] Interface/controls
[ 10/10 ] Program size
[ 05/05 ] Discreetness
[ 12/15 ] Learning Curve