Once the timer runs out, Lock enters Battle mode. The waves of enemies start coming in, and you take control of Lock. In Battle, you’ll balance the upkeep of your fortifications with actually fighting the Clockworks. Tapping an enemy makes Lock auto-attack it, and by following some simple touch-screen prompts, you can score some bonus damage. Between running around repairing walls and turrets, trying to out-maneuver Clockworks and the simple-but-fun touch-screen battles, Battle mode is seriously action-packed and a ton of fun.
Almost everything in Lock’s Quest is controlled via touch screen, and the controls succeed and fail in equal amounts. Dragging and dropping buildings and walls in Build Mode is intuitive and fun, and keeps Build a snappy and fast experience. We’d love to see more strategy games on the DS that are this easy to manage. In Battle mode (and while exploring towns and the map), you control Lock by dragging the stylus to where you want him to go, or simply tapping a spot and watching him automatically move there.
But Lock might as well be blind without you guiding him: he runs into walls, gets stuck turning corners. Even when you take control, the game’s isometric view makes it hard to tell where walls end. That’s a minor nuisance that gets really aggravating during battles, where moving around the battlefield efficiently is vital to keeping all your fortifications up and running. Even worse, the controls are imprecise – tap on a wall to repair it, and often Lock will start attacking a Clockwork on the other side.
But Lock’s Quest is just too damn fast-paced for the fussy controls to get annoying enough to really kill the fun. Lock’s Quest never gets stale or repetitive, with constantly changing mission objectives and the addictive back-and-forth between defense planning in Build mode and the fast-paced fisticuffs of Battle Mode. You’re constantly thrown new goals and new gameplay styles in small, meaty, minute-sized chunks. So even if it’s a little rough around the edges, Lock’s Quest always stays interesting and unique enough to make it a relentlessly addictive experience.
Sep 26, 2008