Tag Archives: fetch quests

2017 Game Review Haiku, #80 – Kith: Tales from the Fractured Plateaus, Episode One “Fetch Quest”

This game’s long title
Says it all, click on people
Fetch them what they want

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

Doki-Doki Universe may be irreverent, but at least it’s imaginative

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There exist many great RPGs, like Suikoden II and Chrono Cross, and in these also exist little slivers of additional content lovingly called side quests. They get this name mostly because they are smaller tasks on the side put upon the hero, heroine, or group while they also handle much larger tasks like killing that evil dragon and saving the world. More often than not, a great side quest can outshine the main path; for instance, take a look at the “The Power of the Atom” quest from Fallout 3, which stands out to me more some six years later than all that water-purifying monkey business with your runaway father. Of late, I really loved London Life, a kinda large mini-game bundled with Professor Layton and the Last Specter that is all about fetch side quests and ate up many hours of my life.

Well, good news–Doki-Doki Universe is a game made up almost entirely of side quests. It’s basically them, plus a handful of personality quizzes which are not as mundane as they sound and can be quite enjoyable so long as one spaces them out between helping random planet inhabitants and riding coffee mugs with wings up into space. Y’know, be sensible about your tasks like that. It’s a lot of to- and fro-ing, but I always seem to need these rather straightforward tasks in times of brokenness, so I’m really having my fill. The game is a freebie this month for PlayStation Plus users, and I initially thought it was only for the Vita, but evidently it is a cross-play title. That’s awesome, and something we need to see more with other consoles.

There’s a story here and, just like Le Petit Prince, it is both sweet and sad. Maybe not as crude as that French children’s story though. You’re robot Model QT377665, but let’s go with QT3 for short. Turns out, your human family sucks and abandoned you and your balloon buddy on an asteroid. Flashforward 11,432 days, and Alien Jeff shows up to give you some bad news. Evidently, your model is getting recalled and scrapped because the company that made you apparently doesn’t believe it has enough “humanity.” Alien Jeff is assigned the task of discovering just how much humanity QT3 is capable of before reporting back to head-honchos.

And so off you go to different, humorously named planets to solve the myriad of problems people have–and animals and talking vegetables and sentient snowmen–to learn more about humanity and gain some perspective. Space is an open map of planets, and you can visit them in any order; in fact, you’ll often need to visit other planets for additional presents to help people with some of the trickier requests early on. Most often, QT3 just needs to summon a specific summonable to finish the quest; for example, someone on Yuckers desires a smelly item, and so QT3 just needs to make a pile of poo magically appear next to them. Quest complete. Others have you either performing a greeting with the right analog stick (waving, bowing, blowing a kiss) or throwing someone like a slingshot to a specific part of the endlessly scrolling level, which is actually a bit tricky.

Besides handling simple side quest after side quest, which despite how it sounds really does scratch a specific itch, there’s personality quizzes to take and email to read. Mmm I do love a game with email, and I’ve been tinkering away slowly at a Grinding Down post about why this is so; maybe it’ll make an appearance down the road. Anyways, the personality quizzes are cute multiple choice questions, with a quick summary of you as a person at the end. They don’t always nail my personality, but are surprisingly accurate the majority of the time. These quizzes are perfect to do before you land on a new planet, too. As you grow as a robot, Alien Jeff and friends you’ve made along the way will send you adorable little emails that are animated and colorful and keep those stories going a bit longer after they technically ended.

Not all is green and dandy in Doki-Doki Universe, as I have stumbled across some very annoying hard crashes and lock-ups. These always happened when QT3 would begin to pull up the multitude of bubbles that makes up his inventory. There’s also no great way to sort through all your consumables, a problem the closer you get to collecting 300, as you can really only view a handful at a time on screen, and so if you’re trying to hunt down one specific item, best keep hitting randomize or trying your luck with the similar button. The game will occasionally log me out of PSN, too, though I know not why and how. I might have also run into a glitch where you are supposed to return to the Home planet and speak with the red balloon; alas, for some reason, the balloon is high in the sky, and QT3 can’t reach it to begin a dialogue. Hmm.

Based on how many consumables I have and how many decorations I’ve acquired for QT3’s Home planet, I must be pretty close to the end, to seeing if this little robot that likes dressing like a lumberjack has enough humanity instead to save his steely skin from being turned into scrap. It’s not a long game, but long enough for me, and I’m looking forward to finishing it up and adding it to my never-ending list of games completed in 2014. At least this one should be relatively easy to draw a comic about, since the art is more or less on my level.

When the timing is right, a fetch quest is pure delight

Sometimes, I need a little direction. Clear yet brief instructions, a visible path to and from, a small purpose, and a jingle to indicate conclusion. A short spurt of work and reward. All of these elements wrapped up together and tied shut with forest green string equals a wonderful present in my eyes, but one that I only want when I want it. I can handle open-ended, freedom, and robust ambiguity just fine, but again, sometimes, I need a little hand-holding. I require it. And I find it in…fetch quests.

Fetch quests come in two forms: hated and accepted. To start, let’s try and define exactly what a fetch quest is: a short quest, which involves sending the player out to collect a certain number of items and return them to complete the quest. That’s kind of it. Think of it as almost an errand. Like, go deliver this cup of sugar to your neighbor down the street. Or, Joe Shmoe needs some new shoes from the store, gives you some money, and then you are off. Fetch quests are a staple of RPGs or videogames with RPG elements, though they do occasionally pop up elsewhere. They are meant to be short tasks to do between major quests, ones that are certainly more involved than “tell Tucker his friend hid some money in a bush down by the river” kind of thing. Quick bits of work for small bits of money or treasure or maybe nothing at all save for the feeling of completion pulsing in your chest.

Now, there are a few games where the fetch quests become unbearable, a real grind, and those are worthy of their heaps of hatred. Off the top of my hairy head, I can think of the Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution DLC from Borderlands, which has you going back and forth, collecting countless claptrap parts–actually, I did count ’em up. I also had some problems with the fetch quests in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening in that it was rather difficult to figure out who needed what to progress the story–and then find said item. I think I stopped playing after I couldn’t figure out how to get the walrus guarding the entrance to Desert Lanmola to move. Again, give it to me straight.

But lately, anxiety and stress have been creeping in, and so I have not been able to concentrate a whole ton on large and long quests in RPGs, making a bee-line towards fetch quests. Granted, I did just finish the Companions questline in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim–which I plan to write about soon–but I wouldn’t really call that large or long. Instead, while playing and enjoying the latest patch that adds kill cams for ranged weapons, I’ve decided it was high time I took a whacking to the miscellaneous quests list. I delivered a sword to some dude in Whiterun, I collected bear skin pelts for some lady, I killed a bandit leader in a cave, and I continued to look for Nirn roots and flawless sapphires. You can argue whether some of those are “fetch” quests, but you will just be arguing with yourself on the Internet, so I don’t recommend it. Overall, it was a nice time, with each task taking only a short while to complete. I expect I’ll keep meandering and doing small tasks until bigger DLC is announced.

And so, a game like Professor Layton’s London Life from Professor Layton and the Last Specter, has been pure bliss for me these last few weeks. More or less, it’s all fetch quests, with a pinch of room decorating to boot. I’ve done enough going and returning to earn a new apartment, which is much bigger. But there’s something really special about waking up every day in-game, reading the newspaper, and acquiring a list of quests. None are especially hard, except for when someone wants a fish, but that’s only because the fishing minigame is the absolute worst, and five or six can be easily completed in under ten minutes. But I don’t do that. I pace myself, or think of ways that I can do two back-to-back or how if I am going to go the museum I should buy that piece of candy that someone at the college wants since they are right next to each other. The quests remain small, but I build them up in my head to be more than that. At some point, London Life will run out of new fetch quests, with only repeats available, and then I’ll be sad and pretty much done with the minigame. Until then, I’ll keep at it, one straight-faced mission after another.

Sometimes, I need a little direction, and it doesn’t hurt to know where you’re going. Thank you, fetch quests.