Review – DLC Quest

Ben Kane is an indie developer that’s recently garnered a lot of attention with his newest title, “DLC Quest”, winner of Xbox’s Indie Game of 2011 (Despite being very popular on the Xbox, “DLC Quest” has only recently come to Steam). “DLC Quest” is a very small-scale game, but it has large implications.

The game’s core mechanic is based on an unfortunate and otherwise unfunny concept; DLC. DLC (or, downloadable content) is additional content for a video game distributed from the game’s official publisher. DLC has become popular in the gaming industry since about 2004. The nature of the content can range from changes in aesthetics, to entirely new storylines, to new game modes. It contains desired features to add to a complete and already released game. And it’s usually not free. Gamers often grumble about DLC, viewing it as an unnecessary money-making grab. Many other games, even indie developers, release “DLC” as a free update to the game.

“DLC Quest” is a very tongue-in-cheek satire game, mercilessly parodying this trend in the industry. Players must purchase DLC (with in-game currency) just to activate basic features such as sound, animation, and moving left. The novelty does not last forever, and so also parodied are an abundance of gaming tropes, including the role of NPCs, random encounters, loading times, and server connections (or lack thereof).

“DLC Quest” takes no more than three hours to complete, but they are three joyous hours (of course, there are time runs and achievements to keep some players on board). For the most part, every player has the same experience, but that’s okay. Originally I intended to package a video of gameplay with this article, but I feel that “DLC Quest” is something that shouldn’t be passively experienced.

This game is short, sweet, and cheap. You can pick it up for $3 on Steam or the equivalent of $1 on Xbox. I highly recommend it to anyone that’s familiar with the gaming industry. It is another great example of an indie game, though very different from the others I’ve reviewed this year.

Developer and one-man army Ben Kane has a rarely-seen indie vlog (development diary) as well as two other released titles; “Zombie Accountant” and “Lair of the Evildoer”.  More information about Ben and Going Loud Studios can be found at the following websites.

Studio Website: http://goingloudstudios.com/

Development Diary:  http://www.youtube.com/user/IndieChatter

Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/230050

Xbox Store Page:  http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/DLC-Quest/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d802585509c7

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