|Title: Lock’s Quest
Developer: 5th Cell
Console: Nintendo DS
Release Date: September 8th, 2008
Genre: Real-time Strategy/Tower Defense
Rating: ESRB: E
I lie in wait, alone, surrounded by the walls I have built with my own two hands. The cannons, perched atop, rest in the eerie silence – the last fired only moments ago. Acrid smoke from their barrels fills my nostrils and chokes me, but I dare not cough, for they – the Clockworks – might hear my weakness and strike once more. Their strength, their lust, knows no bounds and they will soon relentlessly tear at my walls – and at me – once more. I am the only thing that stands between them and this Source Well. I cannot fail.
As dramatic as it sounds, Lock’s Quest makes it very clear that you are alone on your journey. There are a few friends, and your fellow Archineers (those who can build the kingdom of Antonia’s elaborate defenses), but when the Clockworks show up at your doorstep, it’s your job and your duty to see to it that they don’t break the line of defense. And they will show up, and in insane numbers.
Lock’s Quest begins with a history lesson. Source, an energy resource that exists in Lock’s world, is used by archineers to create and build. The greatest archineer of all time, Agonius, wanted to learn its secrets and use it to create life. The King sensed that this was a bad idea, and forbade Agonius from continuing his research. When Agonius refused, the king banished him. Agonius then created a Clockwork Army (essentially robots) and became Lord Agony. The resulting war between the Kingdom of Antonia and the Clockwork Army ravaged the lands. Several archineers fought their way into Agony’s compound and a mysterious explosion apparently killed him. Peace returned to the lands and lasted for several years, until rumors of the Clockwork Army’s revival began to circulate.
Lock resides in a coastal village, far from the approaching army, with his grandfather and sister. The plot follows his unintentional draft into the army and his battles to save those dear to him. While the plot does begin with the typical good versus evil setup, it actually evolves into a well-fleshed out story, especially for a game of this type. I won’t ruin it for any of you who haven’t played it yet, but central to the story are elements of love, loyalty, power, corruption, and the blindness that accompanies unchecked ambition. This is told primarily through in-game text, but there are several animated cut scenes that nicely illustrate the story with the flair of a graphic novel.
Lock’s Quest is separated into two phases, all of which are controlled with the stylus: Build phase and Battle phase. The game is presented in an isometric viewpoint. During build phase, you have a set amount of time to create your defenses, and this is immediately followed by the battle phase, which is exactly what it sounds like. You use the stylus to pick your desired object and then set it in place. It’s really as easy as it sounds to design your defenses. Your choices are limited at first, but eventually you can choose from several different types of cannons, helpers, traps, and walls. Cannons are your primary defense, helpers increase certain attributes such as damage and range, traps last a single day, but can poison or freeze your foes, and wall types increase in strength and eventually even cause damage when struck. All of this is necessary because the Clockworks come in several varieties. Soldiers will walk up to a target and swing an arm, but a Brute will charge and crash into it. Magicians and Archers will attack from afar, while Flyers cross your walls and Burrowers dig underneath. This is just a sampling of the army you’ll face and understanding the weaknesses of each type is essential to your survival, especially when they all attack at the same time.