Earlier today, prolific localiser eastasiasoft played host to its Fall Showcase, during which they showed a variety of different games. The title they held for last — their “one more thing” moment — was a game called Wife Quest, which looked rather interesting. A quick Google later and I discovered that it’s already available for PC via Steam, so I thought ahead of its console release (which is “soon”, without a specific date as yet) we might take a quick look at its first section to get you all in the mood.
Wife Quest is developed by the Brazilian outfit Pippin Games, who previously brought us the addictive, chaotic hack and slash arcade-style title Kawaii Deathu Desu. In the new game, you take on the role of Mia, a happily married young woman who is very much in love with her husband Fernando. Unfortunately, it seems all the monster girls in the world are also very much in love with Mia’s husband Fernando, and as such him getting kidnapped and/or assaulted by them has become rather routine for the happy couple.
This time, something is different, though; Morganna the stinky witch has stolen Fernando away, and she seems deadly serious about keeping him for herself.
What’s a jealous young woman to do in love, then, but take up arms and set off on an epic quest to save her beloved? Thus begins Wife Quest, a hack and slash platformer with more than a touch of classic Wonder Boy about it — and that’s very much a good thing.
Wife Quest’s opening stage in the grasslands surrounding the farm Mia and Fernando live on is fairly straightforward. You progress from one self-contained area to another, navigating your way across various hazards and occasionally uncovering secrets. This is very much a linear platformer at heart — and to be honest, it’s very refreshing to play something structured like this after the glut of Castlevania and Metroid wannabes we’ve had over the course of the last decade or so.
Mia’s capabilities at the outset of Wife Quest are simple: she can jump (which also allows her to move marginally faster than walking, so will doubtless be important for speedrunning) and she can strike with her sword, with repeated taps of the attack button unleashing a combo. Her arsenal of abilities expands as the game progresses — towards the end of the first stage she acquires a shield which lets her reflect projectiles, for example — but these are introduced gradually rather than giving you lots of things to worry about at the same time.
Each area of Mia’s adventure in Wife Quest usually contains a selection of monster girls to get in her way. Each type of monster girl has her own distinct style of behaviour, means of attack and amount of health, and learning how to deal with each type is important to progress through the game. In the first stage, for example, you’ll come across two types of lamias; the younger-looking ones take only two hits to defeat, while the more mature-looking ones require three.
Since they move on a set pattern and don’t get knocked back when you hit them (unlike some other enemy types) you ideally need to finish them off before they reach Mia — that or strike once or twice, step back and then hit them again to ensure you don’t take damage.
Likewise, other types of enemy which home in on Mia or launch ranged attacks at her will need dealing with in their own distinct ways, too. There’s a somewhat deliberate feel to the combat which makes the game feel much less like a mindless hack and slash, and more like its obvious inspirations from the Wonder Boy and Shantae series — the latter of which, as connoisseurs will know, already takes some heavy cues from Wonder Boy anyway!
Wife Quest’s main gimmick is that once you’ve knocked out an enemy, you can “punish” them by standing atop them and pushing down on the directional controls. When you do this, Mia does something unpleasant to her downed foe, be it strangling a lamia, jumping up and down on an orc’s bum or ripping the wings off a fairy. These animations are light-hearted rather than violent — but given that they all result in an anime-style “ghost” coming out of the enemy’s mouth, it’s obvious that they represent Mia finishing the monster girls off once and for all.
You actually don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, but at the end of a level you’re given a breakdown of all the things you achieved, which includes the treasure chests you found and, as you might expect, the monster girls that you successfully finished off.
I had to double-check that Wife Quest didn’t have its origins as a hentai game, because the “punishment” animations are suspiciously provocative and each enemy’s “death” is accompanied with a distinctly orgasmic-sounding scream, but it seems that’s simply a deliberate stylistic choice. I mean, among other things, it wouldn’t make a ton of sense for Mia to be banging her way through the entire monster girl population of the land, since it’s established immediately that she only has eyes for her Fernando. But still; it may be murder, but it’s also kind of sexy in a weird way.
Wife Quest’s levels are long; the opening Grasslands stage will likely take you about nearly twenty minutes to clear on your first run. You can revisit levels at any time, though, and indeed there’s plenty of incentive to do so — there are collectibles to nab and challenges to complete, each of which reward you with various unlockables including images of the game’s characters and enemies, music tracks to listen to in the game’s jukebox and, of course, all the punishment animations for you to enjoy at your leisure.
Between stages, you have the opportunity to visit the friendly local dwarf Ymir (who is far cuter than I’m accustomed to dwarves looking in fantasy games) and pay her some money to acquire some goodies. These include permanent upgrades to Mia’s capabilities, the ability to store and use potions, healing and the restoration of mana, used to power the various special items Mia acquires over the course of her Wife Quest. See what I mean about it being heavily inspired by Wonder Boy?
As obvious an homage as it is to the Westone and Sega classics, Wife Quest has its own distinct feel to it. There’s plenty of humour — Mia’s constant rage is a source of considerable amusement, especially considering how adorably cute she is depicted as being — and it’s obvious that plenty of time and effort has been spent on making the game look and play as well as possible. Controls are smooth and fluid, visuals are clear — with some beautiful pixel art animations on the characters — and the game is simply enjoyable to play.
While I don’t doubt that some will probably write this game off immediately due to its self-consciously silly title, I’d encourage you not to sleep on it; if you’re in the mood for some classic platforming action, this will very much scratch an itch, and is obviously a game put together with great love and care.
So if you want to give it a go for yourself right now, you can pick up the PC version over on Steam — or if you’d rather have it on console, eastasiasoft plans to release it on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series whatever in early 2022. Fingers crossed they give it the physical release treatment — it absolutely deserves it!
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