Life as a dog can be particularly tough at times; Not enough walks, no one plays ball with you, a distinct lack of stroking, and you even have to have the occasional bath. All of these problems fade into insignificance in comparison to Milo’s latest issue. On his most recent wander, he sniffs out a rather delicious looking giant green bone. Now most sane creatures would think, “Giant green bone, nah I’ll leave that!” Not this dog, he dives right in and grabs his prize. Little does he know that by doing this he would release the evil power of King Old Skull, and his ghostly army. So begins the adventures of Milo. Milo’s quest has been developed by Ratalaika Games and Lightup, and published by Ratalaika Games. You control a cute dog, navigating him around a small and colourful landscape. You must solve simple puzzles, and defeat ghosts on your way to tackling King Old Skull in this top down puzzle adventure game.
You open with a screenshot explaining all the controls, which you may think “Excellent, at least you know what you are doing” Well, yes, I thought that also, but, what it didn’t explain is that all the actions aren’t available instantly, and can only be used after you have collected certain items. After a few minutes of trying to attack, it dawned on me that maybe I had to wait, so off I went to begin my quest. You begin as a standard dog, with no special powers, and if you happen to see a ghost, the best you can do is run away. Silly me, I was under the impression that dogs have teeth, maybe Milo feared unleashing another evil overlord if he bit into anything else, who knows? Anyway, as time passes by, you will collect objects that unlock abilities that will aid you in completing your goal; a glove to push boxes, the skill to attack, and special glasses which help to move the screen around. The latter ability wasn’t very useful, and I used it only once and then forgot all about it. It takes approximately 20 minutes to obtain these items, and once you have them, it’s game on and the hunt for King Old Skull can begin.
The story is split across several realms, each is then divided into smaller areas which are closed off using coloured gates; brown are opened when a puzzle is completed, silver is accessed with a key that will be located in the nearby vicinity, and finally purple, defeat the enemies to pass through these. Chests can be found, and these must be unlocked using a golden key, opening them will provide you with a small amount of bones, which in turn can be spent on opening further doors to gain health and stamina upgrades. The puzzles that are found are not challenging at all, they start off extremely easy, and slowly move up to a difficulty of pretty simple. If you happen to make an error, which admittedly I did, then leave the area and come straight back. The puzzle will be reset, and you’ll be able to rectify your mistake. The enemies that you encounter all belong to that evil skull, his ghostly army has little variety, and even when they look different, the approach and difficulty in destroying them is exactly the same. Effectively smash the X button and headbutt them out of the way. If you happen to lose some health, never fear, food is found at regular intervals, this fills up your missing hearts, so the risk of death is practically zero.
This is a game that has clearly been aimed at a younger audience, or the gamer who wishes to complete a title with minimal fuss or effort. You are given the option to dismiss the puzzles, or the adventure part all together if you wish, though I’m not entirely sure why you would. Without all the elements, an already short and easy game would be reduced to absolutely nothing, I’d suggest keeping it on the standard setting, and playing it how the developers envisaged. I’ve mentioned the lack of complexity in the combat system, this does continue on to the big boss battles. Patience and a small amount of thought is all that is required to finish the fights.
A cutesy and colourful presentation is apparent from the opening scene. The retro style gives a simple, no fuss approach which is reminiscent of gaming from a previous generation. The tabletop perspective allows the player a good view of all the gaming space available to them, and this is further increased once you gain the glasses special power. The only thing that was frustrating was the lack of a map, though the areas weren’t overly complicated to explore, it would have been nice to be able to view where you had been, and what you needed to do.
In this colourful and charming cutesy world, you’d expect nothing less than a cheerful and upbeat audio to accompany the action. Well, you won’t be disappointed. A simple 8 bit score plays continuously as you explore and hunt for that evil King. The sound effects are really quite shrill and garish, they reminded me of many a game that I had played on the Mega Drive, but oddly they worked perfectly well in this scenario. I personally liked how the developers have implemented the sound, though I’m sure a number of gamers will find it quite annoying. For me, the game is so short that I was happy to go with the flow, and allowed the noise just to play in the background.
Retro gaming is renowned for its user-friendly approach, and Milo’s Quest is no exception. Move and use two buttons is really all the thought you have to put into playing this, young gamers will easily be able to pick this up. As a parent myself, it’s quite a relief that you won’t be asked every 5 minutes “How do I do this?”, “What are the controls for doing that?” Fellow gaming parents will know exactly what I mean.
This title really is an oddity. Normally achievements are unlocked throughout a playthrough, with at least one reserved for the player who has come through from beginning to end, endured the whole story, and seen the credits roll. Milo’s quest has decided to break this convention, and provides its player base will all the achievements in record time, in my case 30 minutes to be precise. I was confused when the last one popped, and I wasn’t even a third way through the story. Any completionists out there, then this is an inexpensive way to gain 1000 gamerscore at very little cost to your time. Now I’ve completed it, am I likely to play it again? In short, no. I’ve enjoyed my time helping Milo track down the skull, but now it’s time to put this one to bed and focus on another Indie title.
Parent gamers, this is a safe title that younger players will enjoy for its easy approach and colourful presentation. With little violence, other than ghost decimation, you can feel happy that the majority of the gameplay is user-friendly and non offensive. At a low price point, even for just a few hours play it offers good value for money, and if I’m honest, children will probably find a way to make this last even longer than the maximum 2-hour time frame I have stated. For the adult gamer, this isn’t going to jump out at you as a title to pick up, unless you are an avid collector of the publishers work, or you like a quick gamerscore title. If you are looking for a casual game to fill a small gap, then this could well be the adventure game to go for, just don’t expect to be tested in any way shape or form. Can you help Milo restore order and capture King Old Skull? It’s time to slip your lead, and begin Milo’s Quest.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Milo’s Quest Review
Gameplay - 6/10
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Replay Value - 5/10
Who’d have thought that a giant green bone would be cursed? Help Milo to track down King Old Skull, and restore order to the world.
- Good for younger players.
- Cutesy retro graphics.
- Simple controls.
- An achievement hunters dream title.
- The puzzles are too easy for adult gamers.
- The audio will not be to everyone’s taste.
- No map.
- It’s not long enough for my liking.