King's Quest - Episode 2: Rubble without a Cause
Shorter and far less focused on exploration than its preceding episode, King's Quest: Rubble Without a Cause still usually manages to deliver smaller doses of the art style and writing that made the series premiere so appealing. There are plenty of fun puzzles in store along with a timer mechanic, but the cramped, dark setting and lack of visual variety tends to rob these elements of the charm they could have.
Not as rewarding as the preceding chapter, but still worth playing for fans
'Rubble Without a Cause' is a step backward for King's Quest
The revived King's Quest takes a step back in Rubble Without a Cause, the oddly depressing second chapter in this modern take on the legendary Sierra adventures from the 1980s.
Second parts tend to be troublesome for episodic series, as they often feel like transitional stories that merely set the table for what's to come. But with King's Quest: Rubble Without a Cause, characters are growing right before our eyes with a subtle and effective tonal shift. The Odd Gentlemen also nailed the script, as it feels like a standalone episode that's also connected to the episodic format as a whole. We still have three tales to go, but for now, I'm feeling pretty good about King's Quest.
The Odd Gentlemen have pitched an ambitious curveball and although it's easy to appreciate what they've done when that ball hits its mark, the arc it follows is a confusing one to watch in motion. Although the experiment ultimately pays off, it will have rattled players in the process, but I'm more than confident the series will be steered back on track.
Rubble Without a Cause takes King's Quest down a much darker path and is very enjoyable for it. With having to solve puzzles against the clock it really feels as if your decisions matter, due to gut punching consequences.
The quality of King's Quest is top-notch, and despite some drawbacks in this chapter, we continue to look forward to what Graham has in store next.
It sounds like I'm being fairly hard on Chapter 2 of the King's Quest reboot, and to some degree I am. The first chapter was a triumphant return for the series, setting the bar fairly high for anything following. While Rubble Without a Cause can be a little obtuse and less intuitive than A Knight to Remember, it is still a worthy installment. Let's hope that Chapter 3, which is rumored to focus on Graham meeting his future queen Valanice, takes a few more risks when it comes in Q1 2016.
I had high hopes for this entire episodic series and I still do, but let's hope chapter 2 is the worst out of them all because, it's a fall from grace in almost every way.