Unless you've spent the last couple months in a remote jungle, or given up Gamezebo for Lent (how could you!?), then you've almost certainly heard about Nimble Quest. Part cellphone classic Snake, part SNES RPG, it's the latest bite-sized concoction from the trio over at NimbleBit, and one of our most anticipated games of the year. Until recently, we'd been feeding that anticipation entirely with gameplay clips leaked by company co-founder Dave Marsh. Then we got our hands on the beta.
For the past couple of weeks, I've been twisting and turning my way through bat-infested graveyards and hostile dungeons with every spare moment I have. Sufficed to say, it's hard not to be absorbed with Nimble Quest's depth and simplicity. Heroes fight automatically as you swipe directionally to guide them through each micro stage, and enemies drop gems, power-ups and more heroes to add to your conga line. Each beaten level unlocks adorable new fighters, and hard-earned jewels level them up and help your party's chances of making it further. But beware: like a rogue-like, death means starting from square one!
I initially pitched this article as a chance to just brag about how much fun I was having, but NimbleBit seems like they had other plans. Today, they stepped in and announced a release date of March 28, meaning I sort of owe it to you to get you ready for the monster killing mayhem that awaits. Thanks for nothing (except this awesome game), NimbleBit. Without further ado, here are five things you'll want to do to become an expert at your very own Nimble Quest.
1. Spread the love: a balanced party trumps a strong starter
Early on, it's easy to get caught up in the idea that your party's first fighter matters the most. After all, if they fall to enemy fire or suffer a head-on collision, it is game over. Quickly, I found myself pouring all my gems into levelling up my leader. Ultimately, though, this was a short term solution to a long term issue. You never know which heroes you're going to pick up as you play, and unsupported adventurers will get picked off like flies as levels get harder. Even the strongest wizard in the world can't survive alone if all his teammates are dust! Bonus benefit: levelling up characters evenly makes it easier to swap in a new party leader when you want to mix things up.
2. Repeat after me: tokens are for buffs, not retries
Thinking of using that precious play token to retry a level? Do yourself a favor, and flush it down the toilet instead. Okay, I may be exaggerating a little, but I stand by the sentiment. In addition to gems, Nimble Quest's play is powered by shiny, coin-like play tokens that drop rarely from enemies, and which fetch a high price in the game's shop. You have the option of using them to retry a level, or purchasing status “buffs” that boost your party's attack, speed, health, and more. Retrying a level might be tempting to avoid the sting of defeat, but every retry you purchase gets more expensive. Buffs, on the other hand? Those stay with you for an entire play-through, and give you a much better chance of making it further in the first place. It's simple tokenomics, people.
3. The more you grow, the slower you (should) go
Nimble Quest adheres to the cardinal rule of Snake: don't go running into your own tail! So while it may be tempting to charge into the fray as you pick up more party members, swords and magic blazing, don't do it. The ego boost of outnumbering your enemy will be a short lived one when a thoughtless turn results in a crushing loss. And don't get me started on how many times I've crossed paths with a line of baddies right after picking up an ally, only to lose that same party member. Hint: the answer is “lots.”
4. Don't leave your power-ups powerless
My name's Eli, and I'm a virtual currency hoarder. Phew! I said it; it's out in the open now. Seriously, though, I have a real problem letting go of hard earned virtual dollars (just ask my virtual banker in the virtual Cayman Islands). If you're anything like me, though, I'd strongly advise loosening the purse strings with Nimble Quest. The game's host of temporary power-ups can be suped up with gems so that they last longer, work better, and save your bacon. And so far, NimbleBit has proven themselves experts at balance, making each upgrade truly matter; my nearly fully powered bomb has taken out an entire field of enemies more than once. Talk about bang for your buck.
5.When you go to attack, think “front” or “back!”
In what is the most “active” of NimbleBit's releases, it's no surprise that Nimble Quest has a fair bit more strategy. Since every level ends when a set number of enemies have been vanquished, the real key here is finding a way to do battle as quickly and efficiently as possible. My advice? Charge in head-first, or slither up unseen. Destroying an enemy at the front of the pack will wipe out whatever group it's in, while pouncing on enemies from behind ensures they won't have a chance to attack you back. Whatever you choose, avoid running alongside a party of foes, especially when there's a pesky healer in the mix.
By now, I no doubt have you riled up to lead your own band of heroes to victory. Will it be the bomb-throwing Gizmo that leads your pack on March 28? The undead Bones? Someone else entirely!? Either way, one thing is for certain: I'm not the only one sitting in front of my computer in a full suit of armor...right?