It’s not often that I feel like a game is made specifically for me. However upon hearing just the name Dad Quest I knew I had to play it. As a dad with a youtube channel that is both gaming and dad related, I was game. The trailer features swinging a child like a bat and throwing a child like a football, your standard dad and child fun time. It also looked like it was going to be incredibly funny. The only thing going in I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy was the game play. Grow that dad stache, define that dad bod, rehearse your dad jokes, it’s time to quest!
At the start is the tutorial stage, which takes place in a lab studying dads, teaching you each aspect of the gameplay (more into that later). The various lab workers along the way have lots of hilarious lines. It does everything you’d expect from a tutorial designated level, but it’s very entertaining. At the end you are rewarded with a child, and tasked with raising them to become the best weapon they can be! You are released and travel to the surface where you find a guy who tells you the tutorial is a test so that only the best of the best become dads. You hop on a boat, and he shoots you! Screen goes to black, when it comes back up you see a hulking man before blacking out again. You reawaken on a tropical island, childless, nothing but your dad instincts to guide you and some concerning questions. It’s actually quite a bit more of an involved story than I was expecting! There’s a few different layers to it all that give the plot some mystery, and that’s pretty impressive! Combine this with the amazing sense of humor the game throws at you constantly you are in for a real treat with Dad Quest.
To be a good Dad you gotta know the moves. Game play is split into two categories, navigation/platforming, and combat. To navigate the levels can move, jump, interact, and hang from ledges to jump to higher platforms. Combat involves a swing attack and a throw attack. Both of these attacks can be charged and the direction you swing and where you throw is determined with the mouse. There are some RPG mechanics in here as well with your child being able to level up and learn new skills, like walk, and shank! You can also equip different items to yourself and the child to enhance and give special effects to attacks. Dad Quest has fairly simple gameplay that requires you to master it in order to make progress, even early on I had to be careful and be smart about how I did things.
One of the harder aspects of the game is there are places that you can heal, however they can only be used once, ever. Every single time I had the chance to heal I had to ask myself if I really needed it, because what if I need it more later! It’s an interesting layer added to the experience that helps give it more depth. Dad Quest has some good platforming and combat challenges. Mix the two together and you’ll find yourself tackling the same section a few times. This difficulty though isn’t for everyone, and since there doesn’t seem to be much of a learning curve this can feel pretty unfair. It’s nice to be able to get your bearings after the tutorial to get a feel for a game and it hits you pretty hard right out of the gate. Especially since at this point you are still trying to master the controls, that can be hard to do when the challenge spikes so early on.
Dad Quest is a “high-bit” 2D game. The various environments are fairly distinct from one another, I rarely found myself lost which is a testament to how well the team used the simple look into good level design. It’s easy to tell where you can and can’t go. You’ll visit serene forests, tropical islands, bustling towns, arid deserts, and more. Each environment feels new and not just pallet swaps of other levels. This however is not the case when it comes to enemies, even early on I was seeing pallet swapped enemies I had already encountered. None of the enemies aside from bosses really stand out, except pigeons, they are pretty distinct. A lot of color is used, but it is pretty muted. I personally would have loved to see some pop bright colors, but it all matches itself making it all feel a part of the same world. Most importantly though you can clearly see the Dad’s mustache clearly.
The music in this game is is appropriately bouncy, and I could see myself listening to the soundtrack outside of the game. Some tracks are calmer, while others rock it more, but all have melodies in that old school feel. It’s meant to be heard. The overall sound design is also very good, the sound effects that you hear for combat are all very satisfying to hear. It’s a tiny reward for hitting the enemy. It all comes together to put the final nail in the atmosphere that is Dad Quest.
Dad Quest is immensely entertaining. The story, humor, music, and gameplay all come together to challenge you and make you laugh. At no point does it take itself too seriously, and that is absolutely to its credit. It pokes fun at itself, dads, games, kids, pigeons, and countless other things. It’s rare that a game actually gets me to laugh out loud and this game did it regularly. Though it spikes in difficulty pretty early on, with some determination and diligence progress will be made. The RPG elements blend in pretty well with the action based gameplay. It would have been nice to be able to customize my dad. I would have also preferred to see more interesting enemy designs that matched the level of attention it seems the rest of the game received. These however are very minor complaints. Dad Quest is definitely worth your attention.