Punch Quest is an endless runner-style game developed by Rocketcat Games, Madgarden, and Noodlecake Games. Actually, Punch Quest is less of an endless runner and more of an endless puncher. Punching dominates the game’s gameplay and setting. There is no jump button – instead you have an uppercut button. Dashing is actually dash punching. It’s that kind of game.
Non-Stop Punching Action - Punch Quest is built around one simple concept: punching everything in sight, and it does it well. The game's entire story is shown in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cutscene showing the aptly named Punchzerker being enraged by an apple. The burly lady Punchkyrie joins in for added customization fun. What happens next? Punching. Lots and lots of punching. You punch to jump, punch to dash and punch to earn money. I'm honestly surprised that you don't punch to block, but I can't complain. There's no deep plot but Punch Quest isn't that kind of game.
Five Minute Fun - During Punch Quest’s Quest Mode, which is where you’ll be spending most of your time, your character runs through an endless dungeon filled with bats, demons, orcs and the undead to earn Punchos, the game’s currency. This is where the game’s unique visual style shines. The game starts in a castle reminiscent of Dracula’s Castle but that quickly changes.
If you get bored of the same areas and enemies you only have to keep pushing forward and things will change, slowly or suddenly. After the initial castle segment is complete, you can find yourself in areas with a few different themes that transition between each other pretty well. This ties in well with Punch Quest’s main draw of slowly increasing difficulty. The whole point isn’t to win but to progress as far as possible which makes the game great to play if you have a few minutes to spare.
Beehive Busting et al. - My favorite gameplay mechanic would definitely be the eggs that appear on occasion. Breaking an egg changes out your character and puts you in some strange situations, like wrecking giant beehives as a giant gnome or ramming fairies as a “rabid goaticorn” in a segment that plays out like a much more difficult version of Robot Unicorn Attack. Seeking out these eggs is a great way to shake things up if you start to get tired of punching things.
Fresh Gnomish Beats - To top it all off, the game has a great soundtrack that changes up as you enter special areas or activate special moves. While the main song is pretty standard fare, the background music suddenly becoming power metal while you uppercut bats and power slam skullsquids is sure to hype you up at least a little bit.
All Day Grinding - However, there isn’t much more to Punch Quest besides running through dungeons ad nauseam and performing arbitrary “quests” such as defeating a certain number of enemies or using your super moves a certain number of times. As you finish “quests” you receive Punchos and the game’s mascot Gnomey levels up. When he finally gets to level 50 and ascends to the heavens, you are rewarded with a large number of Punchos then you’re asked to do it all over again. Taking the time to get that far only to have it invalidated almost instantly almost feels insulting.
Cash Gates - Another problem with the game is accessibility. Spartan Mode is Punch Quest’s second game mode…but it’s locked from the start. You’ll need a whopping 150,000 Punchos in order to unlock it so you’ll need either a great deal of patience or a willing credit card if you want to punch your way through Spartan Mode to collect skills in any reasonable amount of time. In fact, many of the game’s customization options have similar price tags. Spending a dollar or two on a free game isn’t bad but when the alternative is spending several days killing skeletons and pulling off super moves just to fill a quota and there’s no third option, something is wrong.
Punch Quest is definitely a fun game, but if you aren’t into the quirky gnomish humor throughout and single-track gameplay it has little replayability. Grinding and spending money for new hats might work for Team Fortress 2, but that game has the virtue of having far more options when it comes to gameplay. So don’t play Punch Quest to complete it, play it to punch the forces of evil until they explode for a few days before moving on.
*This review was based on the Android version of the game with a review build provided by the publisher.