No skin, lots of bones, and a little bit of heart
It’s rare that you see a game revolving around motion controls that also attempts to feature a deep, fleshed-out story like Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest. Unfortunately, you all too often see these types of games fall into the same gameplay traps that this one falls into as well—missteps that take away from the overall experience.
Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest is set in a fictional medieval kingdom where a boy named Edmund lives in the castle. Although he’s an orphan, Edmund’s built up an almost King Arthur–esque mystique, and he’s now destined for great things—including inheriting the crown. But for now, Edmund’s still too young and is simply tasked with guarding a mysterious, powerful stone that contains mystical powers. Guided by the ghost of a past king, the castle chef, and several other allies, Edmund’s well on his way to being a just, beloved ruler. That is, until a nefarious necromancer attacks the castle with an army of undead skeletons. Claiming the mysterious stone and its power for his own, the necromancer curses the kingdom and adds them to his skeletal army. But Edmund’s fortuitously protected by a magical stone pendant, so although his flesh melts away, his mind’s free from the necromancer’s control. Jokingly renaming himself “Deadmund,” he sets off on a quest to save his future subjects—and himself—from the dastardly deeds of this depraved demon.
I’ll admit that some aspects of Deadmund’s Quest flat-out impressed me for a motion-controlled game. The cartoony graphics work well with the lighthearted writing—and when you couple that with some surprisingly competent voice acting by all involved, this game’s definitely aurally and visually pleasing.
That’s why it’s such a shame that, just like many other motion-controlled adventures, Deadmund’s Quest ends up being held back by the very technology that allegedly empowers it. The most disappointing part? It’s designed almost like a pseudo action-dventure game but instead comes off like an on-rails Legend of Zelda. This is almost an oxymoron—you can’t explore your surroundings or talk to townsfolk, and you must always engage enemies head-on. You’re simply herded forward to area after area, where you slash away at more of the necromancer’s skeleton horde with your sword or fire away with your arrows. The lack of gameplay diversity makes progression a dull grind almost immediately—you just won’t find the same variety as in Zelda or other more robust fantasy experiences.
And the tedious grind’s only compounded by major control problems, as too many different actions are assigned to various Move motions. Pointing up lets you drink milk to restore health, pointing down pulls out a grappling hook for jumping over walls, pulling back brings up your shield, and swinging away unsheathes your sword. But since you need to attack some enemies vertically or horizontally, you’ll often find yourself suddenly drinking milk in the middle of battle when you don’t want to, dropping your shield when trying to defend yourself, or hacking away when trying to pull out the grappling hook.
Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest has a wonderful concept, but like so many motion-controlled games before it, this one’s subject to a poorly implemented gimmick—it would’ve been much more enjoyable with both a regular controller and an open world instead.
SUMMARY: A fun, lighthearted medieval adventure held back by Move technology and on-rails design.
- THE GOOD: Humorous characters and an entertaining plot
- THE BAD: On-rails action and epic adventure really don’t mix
- THE UGLY: Undead skeleton monsters everywhere!