Author: Raven (Jim Franklin)
Developer: Miris Mind
Publisher: Miris Mind
Release date: 15th February 2016
Side Quest by Miris Mind is a slash and magic-imbued sideways-scroller that sees you, a humble chef defeating the dark and evil denizens of a fantasy landscape with your trusty sword and wand.
Yep, that’s right, a chef. A chef who while on his way to deliver freshly cooked food gets accosted by a mysterious wizard who despite the chef’s protestations, slaps a set of armour of him, and pushes him out of the door with little in the way of magic or weapons training. Still, how much trouble can he get in to? Well, more than you’d think as he scarcely walked 10 steps before a rather bored individual claims he’s got nothing better to do so he might as well be a villain to you.
Ultimately, the chef’s main quest of delivering the food upstairs is put on hold while he completes the side quest of travelling over multiple landscapes and putting his life on the line time and time again because some vaguely mystically chap in a robe compels him to do so. Whether or not the food ever gets delivered is hopefully discovered by anyone who gets through all the levels and defeats the big bad at the end.
So, we know that the chaps and gals at Miris Mind certainly have a different way of approaching a storyline, but what about the game itself? Through all the plot originality is there a stellar game hiding behind it?
Well, the gameplay is simple enough. Move the chef across a scrolling landscape, and destroy any monsters that try to kill you. You’ve got a sword for close range and a wand that does less damage but works at range. So between your two weapons you keep moving around and attacking until everything is dead, and then you move on. In later levels, you get things such as moving platforms to deal with, or restricted paths that you need to manoeuvre across which do add a certain complexity. The game has a sort of Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins and Double Dragon retro feel to it
How you control your new hero is actually fairly retro too, no mouse, no keypad, just WASD keys and the J and K keys which swipe or cast accordingly. At first, it took me back a little and almost seemed backward until I realised there’s actually no need to implement a different control system, there are only a limited amount of actions you can perform so a handful of keys is perfectly find.
Graphically, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. On the whole, the bubbly cartoonish approach works well, especially in the context of the rather curious plotline but at times, graphically it feels like the whole thing just needs a little more polish. Some of the levels in Side Quest look really good, while others fall behind and seem almost rushed or the textures just need a little more rounding off. I was reminded of the sort of graphics you would have on a Playstation 2 game.
One thing that’s spot on for me is the difficulty level of Side Quest. When I started playing, I suspected that this game would end up falling into either the too easy or the insanely difficult camps. As it turns out, I found I was dying just enough for me to learn to play without becoming so frustrated with the game that I just wanted to throw the whole system out of the window.
This is where Side Quest falls down a little, in that it’s difficult to imagine going back over and over again to keep playing. After all, one play-through will not differ from the previous one, apart from maybe a decrease in the time it would take for you to complete each level. It would be nice if they had put in a reason to play again, or even to simply keep playing. There doesn’t appear to be anything pushing you or dragging you to the end of the game.
Overall, Side Quest isn’t a bad game. There are enough jaunty little quirks and characteristics to keep you going for a few hours, and the difficulty level is very well set. However, the rather shallow gameplay does leave a lot to be desired, and many people might find themselves wanting a little more. I would probably be a little more positive about Side Quest if it had been designed for mobile platforms. Knowing what a PC is capable of, even from Indie Games puts this against some very stiff competition. Hopefully, Miris Mind will look at throwing out a little more content, and smoothening off those graphical edges maybe even an added RPG element might lift it.
This game was reviewed by Jim Franklin, go and check his website.
Story – 70%
Gameplay – 60%
Control – 90%
Graphics – 50%
Difficulty – 90%
Replayability – 30%