Lock's Quest - hands-on

Drawn to Life developer, 5th Cell has another promising DS title upits sleeve that’s worth keeping an eye on. Lock's Questwill place you in the role of Lock. He’s an Archineer - that’s part architect, part engineer - who’s charged with defending his town from an invading clockwork army.

Led by the undeniably evil Lord Agony, the clockworks are after your hometown’s rich Source wells. Think of Source as the magical lifeblood of Lock's Quest’s economy. And think of Lord Agony and his clockwork cronies as the imperialist invaders looking to steal your town’s natural resources.

Above: Attacking enemies and repairing structures trigger touch microgames like this one, where you’ll have to hit the numbers in order to unleash a strong attack

During the game’s two-minute build phase, you’ll fortify your base with walls, turrets and traps. Once you’ve built up your defenses, the combat phase begins. Here, you’ll take direct control of Lock. He can help fend off the clockworks directly by attacking enemy units. But in order to stave off the clockwork siege, you’ll also need to collect more Source so you can afford to repair your emplacements.

With clockworks marching towards your town from all directions, the action is fast-paced and keeps you busy running to one section to help make sure a turret doesn’t get destroyed and then to another to help stop clockworks sneaking through a broken wall.

Above: Lock's Questalso has some RPG-goodness in store for you between battles

If you manage to fend off the invading army, the build phase will resume and you’ll be able to use the Source you collected to further bolster your defenses. 5th Cell claims that their AI will learn from your behavior and will try different tactics based on your performance in the previous combat phase.

Jeremiah Slaczka, who was the director for Drawn to Life, has high hopes for 5th Cell’s latest project. “Whereas Drawn to Life was much more kiddy - it was made for the more casual gamers - we wanted to show to the world that we can make a ‘gamer’ game,” explained Slaczka.

Described as an “arcadey one-man RTS,” Lock's Questplays like a nice mix between Tower Defense and Rampart with some classic RPG story elements thrown in for good measure, and we’re interested in seeing how it turns out. No solid release date has been announced by developer, 5th Cell at this point. In the meantime,click herefor the latest screenshots from Lock's Quest.

Apr 4, 2008