In most games you play a hero adventuring for a great purpose. Your aim is to save a city, a people or a world. That is not that case in “The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot”. In this free-to-play game from Ubisoft you are a newly arrived resident of the floating city Opulencia. Here everyone has fortress-like castles filled with monsters and traps that protect gold and life force. Your quest is to infiltrate these castles, kill the monsters guarding it and take the treasure for yourself. Once a few castles have been relieved of their treasure then you get to build your own castle to protect the treasure you have amassed. But does this formula of loot, level and build work?
NOTE: This game is in Open Beta. So things may change in the future. If anything major does change that affects the review I will update it here.
A Mighty “Hero” for the Quest
First things first, you have to decide what sort of “hero” (I use the term loosely) you want to play. You get to choose one of three heroes for free. They include Blackeye Bowgart the Archer, Sir Painhammer the Celebrity Sports Personality (knight), and The Earl of Evilosity the Mage. If you want to have a second character it starts costing real world money, but they warn you of this when you make your selection. The Runaway (no real name given) is a premium character that also needs to be purchased as part of a Diamond pack. My choice was The Earl of Evilosity, whose long range and AOE attacks have done well for me.
Now that I have a capable character it is on to the loot. This is where the game takes a decidedly hack and slash turn. You start at level 1 and kill creatures for experience and loot while making your way to the treasure room. Controls are as you would expect, click on the ground to move, click on an enemy and you attack. As you level, you unlock additional abilities to make your life a little easier. Once all your abilities are unlocked, leveling makes the abilities more powerful at specific levels. You can set 4 of these abilities to use in addition to your weapon's attack while pillaging the local castles. Your character is also made more powerful by gear that is dropped by the enemies that you slay. Although I do have to wonder why the minions don't just use the gear they have and drop against you?
Now that we have a character, time to loot and pillage! As you enter Opulencia you are introduced to Cornelius, the local real estate agent. He teaches you the ropes on how to navigate and loot a castle and kind of what to look out for. Each castle has a setup of traps and monsters that want nothing more than to cause you a premature death. After defeating the first set of castles and their boss you get to the good stuff, castles from other players. Castles that are player made have an additional goal; beyond getting the treasure, it is getting through them. First you want to try and beat the time for the castle. This time to beat is the time it took the castle's owner to get through it, so it's the goal you are aiming for. If you beat the clock you get one of three stars possible for completing the run. The others stars are earned by destroying all gold and life mines and by not dying during the run. Most castle runs are between 2 and 3 minutes, which means if you only have a few minutes to play, this game is perfect as you can run several castles in 15 minutes or whatever time you have. As someone who does not always have the time to sit down for long play sessions I really appreciated this.
Castles themselves are split into zones depending on their level in what appears to be 5 level increments with the first 5 levels being your training wheels. There are a limited number of castles in each zone which change with each log in. If you pillage all the available castles and don't want to run them multiple times, you can spend some gold to get new victims. The amount seems to vary by level range with it increasing 100 gold for each 5 level increment. This means levels 6 - 10 is 100 gold and 11 - 15 is 200 gold.
This brings us to the most unique thing about The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot; Protecting the treasure you have taken from fellow players. To do protect your stuff, you must build your own castle and set it up with traps and monsters. The number of traps and monsters are limited primarily by your castle’s level. Think Starcraft and needing supply depots/overlords/pylons to get more troops. In this case your castle has a 'heart' in the treasure room. As you level you can spend money to increase the castle heart level. Everything else in your castle depends on your castle heart and it cannot be higher level than your character is. Don’t worry, Cornelius not only explains this all for you, but helps you setup the tools need to make your very own death trap castle. This includes the architect's office to add rooms, the blacksmith to make your own arms and armor, the potion brewery to keep you stocked in health potions, the summoning portal to get the monsters and traps, and the research lab which is used to upgrade your monsters. This last one is especially nice as it means you don’t have to replace creatures to make them stronger, just upgrade them. You also get to put gold mines and life-force mines in your castle to try and earn some resources while you are out in the real world.
Now you have your castle and you have made it unbeatable right? Well I hope not. In the basis of fair play, you cannot publish your castle for other players to loot it unless you are able to beat it yourself. For you to successfully beat your own castle you need to destroy all your mines and get to the treasure room. To get the fastest time too, you may wish to skip some of the monsters you placed, but be careful. Any monsters you don’t defeat during your run will be asleep when other players come through, so they won't do much good in defending the place. My advice would be to kill everything so your monster guards are attentive when that unwelcome visitor comes over. Lastly, keep in mind that if you make it too easy, it is YOUR gold that other players take. So if you log off with 12,000 gold, and don’t come back for a week, don’t be surprised if you only come back to 3,000 gold.
So this is a free-to-play game, which means there is a regular currency and a premium currency. The regular game currencies are gold and life-force. The premium game currency is called blings, which look like green gems. Gold and life-force are earned by killing monsters, destroying mines and looting a castle's treasure room. Life-force is used primarily to summon monsters while gold buys new rooms for the castle and items from the blacksmith, potion brewery and a few other things here and there. There is no way to buy the regular currency, but it is easy enough to earn. Bling can be used in the place of gold in some places (such as the blacksmith) but it’s main purpose is to get additional slots for another “hero” or get cosmetic things, like castle or character skins. I honestly do have some bling, but have not used it and could easily see someone not getting any.
Now there are a few things you can buy with real money to enhance your gameplay. This does not make you an unstoppable force of nature, it just makes things happen faster for you. For $6.99 you can get a supply pack that includes 2 XP boosts, 2 gold boosts, 2 life-force boosts and 5 magic find boosts. Each boost lasts 1 hour and applies a bonus to the listed resource. This won’t unbalance the game, but can be handy. Other buyable items are The Runaway, early access to the boss Flameo (dragon on two legs) and a pet that can gather your loot for you (coming soon). Again, nothing that will throw game balance off.
The MIghty Quest for Epic Loot is a really fun game. It has PVP without you ever actually having to deal with other people. It has hack and slash game play which works really well for the lengths of these levels. The castle building breaks up the monotony and as an adult I feel like I accomplished something in the game even if I only have 20 minutes to play.