Wife Quest is a game that has been on prolific localiser, porter and publisher eastasiasoft’s “coming soon” list for quite a while now. Some time ago, we took a brief look at the existing PC version and came away quite impressed. Now, the console port is here — so let’s take a closer look at what it’s all about!
In Wife Quest, you take on the role of Mia, a happily married and somewhat flat-chested young woman who lives a happy life with her farmer husband Fernando. The pair only have eyes for one another — but unfortunately the local monstergirl population also has eyes for Fernando, and thus he finds that getting himself kidnapped is a depressingly frequent occurrence.
We join the action in Wife Quest as one of these kidnappings is happening, and Mia decides that enough is enough; it’s time to go lay the smack down on the monstergirls once and for all, and make it abundantly clear that Fernando is hers, and hers alone.
Wife Quest unfolds as a mostly linear platform action game that is strongly inspired by the classic Wonder Boy games. Initially, Mia can jump and swing her sword, but with each boss she defeats she unlocks additional abilities based on something she steals from them — after defeating Tania, the fairy queen of the forest, for example, she rips her wings off and becomes able to float gracefully across pits and off high ledges instead of simply falling.
Mia’s abilities beyond her simple sword slashes are powered by a magic meter — and this includes her ability to block and reflect projectiles with a shield. Consequently, in some of the tougher boss encounters, you’ll need to budget your magic effectively, since it doesn’t regenerate automatically, and being caught without any fuel for your special abilities can be fatal!
Wife Quest has six levels, which might not sound like a lot, but each is split into at least fifteen sub-stages that you progress through in sequence. Most levels will take you at least half an hour to get through on your first run, and there is incentive to replay them through various collectibles and speedrun challenges.
The initial levels are completely linear, but as you progress through the game you’ll encounter some areas where your forward progress is quite literally gated off; in these circumstances, you’ll have to visit neighbouring substages in whatever order you please and find the appropriate triggers to open the gates and allow you to progress further. At no point does the game feel like it’s going to become a full on exploration-centric platformer, but these sequences do make for a nice bit of variation.
The individual stages are also worth exploring thoroughly, particularly once you have some of the later special abilities available, because they’re bursting at the seams with hidden treasure. Coins can be spent between levels to upgrade Mia’s abilities — including her sword power, attack reach and attack speed as well as her maximum health and magic — while unlockable music tracks and images provide fun things to explore even once you’ve beaten the main story.
Wife Quest handles really nicely. Mia’s controls are responsive and accurate, and the enemies all behave in distinct manners, with different strategies required to combat each of them effectively. As a “collectible” element, the game requires you to “punish” defeated monstergirls to add them to your album, and each different type of monstergirl has their own unique animation of Mia abusing them in some amusingly violent (and occasionally suggestive) manner.
Each stage presents you with three specific challenges to accomplish, which will unlock new images in the gallery for you when achieved, and also keeps track of exactly how many monstergirls and treasure chests you have previously acquired for your collection. Previously punished Monstergirls are specifically marked with a checkmark on subsequent visits, so you can easily see at a glance if you’ve dealt with them; that doesn’t necessarily make finding some missing foes easy, but it does at least mean you don’t keep redoing the same things unnecessarily!
The game is, on the whole, presented very nicely. The pixel-art spritework is very nice indeed, with both the monstergirls and Mia having a ton of personality about them. The close-up portraits of characters seen during some dialogue sequences are particularly attractive, especially since they’re animated.
The script could have maybe done with a bit of a proofread, but in some respects its slightly rough edges add to the retro-style charm of the game. The music is a little nondescript, but fits the action quite well, and the sound effects do the job nicely. There’s a little slowdown when things get busy on the screen — usually only when you’ve opened a bunch of chests and been showered with coins — but nothing that adversely affects the experience too much.
The levels are arguably all a bit too long — it would probably have been preferable to have more, shorter levels grouped together by “world” or visual theme — but as you progress there are at least opportunities to save your game at checkpoints midway through the longer levels, meaning you don’t necessarily have to tackle them all in one go. Plus you’ll find as you unlock the later abilities and are secure in the knowledge that you’ve acquired the various collectibles, you’ll be able to romp through previously completed stages much more quickly.
At heart, Wife Quest isn’t doing anything especially new or remarkable — but what it does provide is a really solidly implemented Wonder Boy-style platformer. For those in the mood for that sort of thing, it’s definitely a worthy investment — particularly if you have a thing for angry flat-chested heroines and/or monster girls. Because this game has both of those things in absolute abundance.
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