Out from Rablo games is one of the more unique games I’ve played in a while. If you’re someone who’s played the support healer role, or sympathize for our squishy cloth covered friends who manage to keep our health topped up, Healer’s Quest is for you. No doubt this is a game centered around the life of playing a Healer who is stuck with a crappy party who doesn’t appreciate your niche skill set. It’s full of jokes about MMO stereo types, and fourth wall breaking comedy that also includes a decently deep combat system.
Healer’s Quest’s story doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is full of all the absurd humour you’d expect. You set out on a quest with a party full of your typical MMO members. You have your tank, barbarian, mage and archer, which all bring their own unique humour and back stories to the table. You join the group of unskilled misfits to places like the Nameless Dungeon, to discover later of the legend of the Noob Sword, which becomes your primary quest.
You explore the overworld going from town to town and exploring the occasional cave or dungeon. The bulk of the game however, lies in it’s combat. You take place in battles that resemble turn based affairs, however, the action appears to be in real time. This is because you are not controlling attacks and such, but instead, you are healing your party members as they carry out the commands.
The healing system is very straight forward and easy to pick up, but challenging to master. To heal a party member, you simply hover your mouse over them and left click. This will steadily heal them while depleting your mana. In addition, healing continuously without any break will increase your burnout gauge. When this fills out, you are stuck for a few seconds while you recover and are unable to cast spells.
The game is controlled entirely with your mouse and keyboard, and does not offer any type of controller support. This is not a knock on the game, but just something that I should disclaim. Given the nature of the game, this would be a tough one to pull off without anything besides a mouse and keyboard. The controls do take sometime getting used to, but the game has you go through several tutorials, so you’ll have more than your fair chance to get accustomed to it.
Outside of your basic healing spells, you have a wealth of spells at your disposal. You can have a total of four equipped at at time, and these range from small to large healing spells, buffs, mana recovery spells and much more. Each can be individually leveled to increase their effectiveness and make them more efficient. There are also bracelets that can be equipped that also boost certain stats.
You’ll certainly get into a groove once you unlock many spells and start sticking to your favourites. It can be fun to try different spells and be surprised at how effective they are and how they change your strategy. There are specific moments that do seem to require certain spells to make things a tad bit easier as well.
In addition to managing your healer there is also your party to tweak. As they level, they also get a tad bit stronger each time. They also come equipped with their own unique weapons that bring their own strengths and weaknesses to the game. They can also have rings equipped which lend even more stats that can be spread out through your entire team.
Although your party carries out their commands on their own, there are certain passive elements that you need to keep in mind. Your tank for example, if kept at near to full health, will gain an attack buff. Your barbarian on the other hand, if below a certain health threshold, will also gain an attack buff. Your archer also has a fear of spiders, and anytime your face off against them, his face can turn white, and if not healed, will runaway from the battle. It’s twists and turns like these that really keep you on your toes at all times in addition to the standard healing elements.
Healer’s Quest handles it’s enemies in a comedic fashion. You’ll face off against gigantic rats all the time, and your team will continually comment on how every RPG has generic rats to kill. Approaching a mid boss also presents a funny situation to, as they once again comment about RPG tropes of making mid bosses big versions of already existing enemies. This is followed by unveiling the mid boss as a super sized rat. There is so much chatter going on about enemies, even Trolls are accused of trolling.
Despite it’s comedic nature enemies are not to be taken lightly. Even early on, managing to keep your party in tip top shape without always burning yourself out can be a challenge. It can be a rush and quite satisfying once you nail this down, only to then hit another new obstacle or variation to the combat. Such as enemies introducing a new type of debuff that can adversely affect your parties performance.
Where the true heart of Healer’s Quest lies though, is in it’s humorous, fourth wall breaking dialogue. Your party as mentioned will always make funny comments towards enemies. They even make many jabs at each other and including you and how your skills are effectively not valued. Typical healer problems…
The game doesn’t take itself too seriously and is a fun lighthearted affair. Almost all the dialogue is some sort of stab at something in or out of the game. The game continually comments on how MMO’s and RPG’s always fall into certain tropes and how lame it can be. It will even make jabs at itself and how the game is no good, and even how the team needs the players guide to advance. If silly internet humour is up your ally, then look no further than Healer’s Quest.
Graphically, Healer’s Quest implores a charming, crayon drawn type visual. Everything has that kind of cloud, hazy look but it works extremely well. It’s like going through a children’s book, but for adults. Everything looks especially vibrant and all the characters have this goofy like look to them, whether it’s your team or some enemies. Environments can appear a bit repetitive though, only because you are going from forest to cave over and over. The vibrant colours do help make things feel a bit distinct.
The audio in Healer’s Quest could use some work. The music tracks although limited, do fit well, and in fact, the main theme often gets stuck in my head. However the sound effects, not only sound low quality and taken from low budget samples, come off with leveling problems. Certain voice overs tend to be louder than others, and with so much going on, audio queues from certain attacks and debuffs are easily missed. It makes the already chaotic battles feel more chaotic.
Overall, Healer’s Quest can be a smooth and surprisingly deep experience. But if there is one area I’d give it fault, it would be in it’s difficulty spikes. I often found the game will be hard at one point, and the difficulty eases of as you slowly level up and upgrade your skills, to then hit a wall out of nowhere and get mauled by enemies. You may end up dying quite a bit which seems to be a bit unforgiving. Your characters moods will change if you let them die. This normally would be okay, but when you are in places like dungeons, you may be forced to retreat, rest up at the Inn and start over and have to face all the same enemies again.
I’m not against difficult games, but this seems to go against Healer’s Quest lighthearted nature. I could be a minority here, but it makes approaching the game for subsequent playthroughs a bit tough knowing I can’t just coast through the game if I wanted to just experience the dialogue. Granted, there is a difficulty selection at the start of the game and I picked normal mode, but despite this, I found the difficulty spikes fluctuate a bit too much for my tastes. Definitely prior knowledge of MMO, RPG and healer mechanics will help you greatly.
Healer’s Quest is a cute little serving of particular gaming humour that fans of certain genres will really appreciate. It may not be the most intelligent and wittiest humour out there, but all of it’s subtleties are based on a shred of truth which for me makes it a relatable experience, especially being a former healer myself. Healer’s Quest doesn’t just rely on it’s humour though, and given it’s easy going nature, it provides a surprisingly deep and involved combat system. Although it can feel a bit unfair at times with some random difficulty spikes, the game will definitely have you plan your strategies very meticulously. The games length is pretty decent and can last you a good 10 hours, so it’s pretty worth the price of admission if everything lines up to your fancy.
Disclaimer: This review was done using a Steam copy of Healer’s Quest provided by the game’s PR and Marketing Rep, PlayerTwo. Please be assured that this did not affect my opinion of the game, and that my criticisms are an honest and true representation of my thoughts on the game.