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Nimble Quest review: gathering a party into a snake

Do you like old school Snake gameplay? If you said yes, keep reading, if not, you might as well find something else to read. Nimble Quest is a free-to-play RPG/action hybrid that mixes the gameplay of Snake with the real-time action of hack 'n' slash-esque games.

You start off the game with one hero--the selection is limited at first, but new heroes are unlocked as stages are beaten--walking around a small square grid, auto-attacking enemies that randomly populate the screen. As enemies die, they drop anything from power-ups to gems and tokens to heroes in order to increase the size of your party, a.k.a., your snake. The gameplay is simple, using only swipe controls, no need to worry about pressing a button to attack, and gradually becomes more difficult as new enemies emerge and more enemies pop up on screen at once.

There are two modes to choose from: default (no specific name given) and Arena. The default mode drops you in the middle of an area with an empty bar on top of the screen in need of filling. To fill the bar, you must kill, kill, kill (there's not anything else to do anyway). This mode is good at first for grinding experience--gems found in-game can also be used to buy experience--and unlocking new characters, but the real heart of Nimble Quest is in the arena.

In the Arena, you join or create your own guild and compete against other guilds and those in your own guild. Fighting in the arena costs one coin--which are occasionally dropped in-game or can be bought via IAP--and competitions seem to last a few days, and, upon ending, you are awarded a certain number of coins based on both your guild's place on the leaderboard and your individual place within your guild. A recent update changed the Arena, forcing the use of a specific character for each competition--which levels the playing field somewhat. It's easy to lose a lot of time in the arena, trying to beat your fellow guildmates while helping your guild at the same time, and coins are found on a frequent enough basis that you should never have to pay to play.

Nimble Quest is an interesting game. It was developed by NimbleBit--the studio known for making great free-to-play simulation-esque games like Tiny Tower and Pocket Plane--and the old-school, pixel art style is familiar and pretty, but the customization found in previous NimbleBit games is non-existent. Character's appearances change as they level up, but there is no choice in how they look or even a choice of color and I can't help but find that a tad disappointing. And if you don't get drawn in by the arena, there's no reason to keep playing after a few hours; sure, you can keep playing to level up and unlock new characters--which would take quite some time without paying a cent--but there's no reason to do such a thing. That said, the game is fun and free-to-play done right; if you want to show support, you can buy characters early or pay for gem/coin packs, but you never have to buy anything in order to enjoy Nimble Quest, my only fear is that the game won't have the legs of a Tiny Tower or Pocket Planes.

*Nimble Quest was reviewed on an iPad and is available now on the iTunes App Store for free with optional IAP, as well as the Google Play Store.

Nimble Quest (iOS Universal | Free)


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