The first ten minutes of Queen’s Quest 4: Sacred Truce on Xbox One had me thrust into a conflict raging across multiple lands – a resilient struggle between men and elves that threatens the very nature of the world. It’s all very ‘end of the world’ and its attempt at scale feels like an effort to encapsulate the feeling of a grand-scale adventure, much akin to The Lord of the Rings. Alas, those ten minutes ended with me shuffling through a wandering traveller’s storage box, finding an extensive list of hidden items and helping him on his way. This is part of the charm and conflicting issue Queen’s Quest 4 has with itself.
Queen’s Quest 4: Sacred Truce is another in a long line of hidden object games. Wrapped around this is a vast amount of mini games and standard point-and-click adventure game fare. It’s a package that attempts a large amount, yet some of the ideas stick and others are left in the dust. Queen’s Quest 4 on the Xbox One does its best to convey an epic story, shrouded in mystery and magic, but ultimately falls flat. This comes down mostly to the consistent tonal issues that clash. More often than not, the story is pushing against the gameplay elements.
An early puzzle involves helping a talking deer find its saddle so it can help you across a lake. It’s a ridiculous concept, but one that takes itself far too seriously that it’s hard to pinpoint a target demographic that Queen’s Quest 4 is aiming for. The journey to receive said items has you wandering across the town, seeking objects, solving puzzles and putting all the pieces together. It’s a ludicrous set of tasks that feels as though it should be treated with lightheartedness, which unfortunately the story doesn’t provide.
On a simple gameplay level though, Queen’s Quest 4 is often a rewarding and relaxing experience. Navigating the world is presented through standard point-and-click gameplay, which enables you to switch scenes, interact with objects and gather collectibles. The story is broken into segments and figuring out how to progress is where most of the fun lays in Queen’s Quest 4. An early segment has you exploring the town of Saddletown that has been invaded by elves. Here you’re tasked with helping the major and cracking puzzles to rekindle the treaty between the two factions.
Slowly piecing together how everything in the world interacts with one another is one of the main draws to Queen’s Quest 4. Alongside this, occasional minigames are presented to help break up the monotony of exploration. One game might have you mixing potions together to aid a fellow citizen, while another might be a simple spot the difference game. None of these are particularly challenging and don’t promote too much thought, but they’re notable distractions from the rest of the experience.
The main bread and butter remains in the addictive hidden object formula which has transpired for many years now and garnered a cult following over time. To the outside view, it can be hard to explain the pure cathartic feeling that comes with solving these puzzles, but once you pick it up, it’s hard to put it down. Some of these can be quite challenging, often involving multiple steps that must be taken to find hidden objects. This can range from moving debris to finding keys for locked chests. It makes the puzzles feel much more intricate as you’re forced to use deduction skills to interact with each environment fully.
Finding objects is one of the key elements to advance in the world. You possess an inventory which is used to hold the objects you find and use them on items of interest in the world. Queen’s Quest 4 seems to present a non-linear fashion with multiple areas often presenting multiple puzzles to tackle at one. While this is refreshing, it provides to be somewhat cumbersome when your inventory is over staggered with an assortment of items. It doesn’t help when some items can remain in your inventory for an extended amount of time, clogging up vital space, only to be used for very little later on.
There’s a good range of accessibility options available so the puzzles and exploration in Queen’s Quest 4 remains fluent. A handy hints system will gladly point you in the right direction with a fairly generous recharge time, meaning that you’ll never remain stuck for too long. Overall, Queen’s Quest 4 on the Xbox One is relatively easy, but having the option for people who are perhaps not too familiar with gaming is a welcome addition. Alternatively, there’s also the incorporation of expert mode for those well-versed in games of this genre, doing away with all of this.
While Queen’s Quest 4 isn’t going to fry your graphics card, it is going to showcase many beautiful images and environments to interact with. The world of Queen’s Quest 4 on the Xbox One plays out across many beautiful frames of artwork, each with small, lovely interactions such as animals to click on and lore to discover. It’s colourful, bold and relays a striking visual flair. The world of Queen’s Quest 4 may present a highly generic take on fantasy lands, but it’s somewhat comforting to have a game that embraces the traditional roots it’s known for.
It’s hard to determine who Queen’s Quest 4 is actually for. While it’s a relaxing way to spend a few hours, it’s an experience that will vanish from your memory the moment it’s done with. It’s easy to appreciate the wonderful visuals and casually fun puzzles to indulge in, however its story often clashes with the tone the rest of the game represents. Some of the ideas are often frustrating, with the lack of ability to backtrack and tonal differences. But there’s still some charm that lies within Queen’s Quest 4 on the Xbox One. So while it may not be groundbreaking, it’s an easy recommendation for a lazy Sunday afternoon.