As a longtime fan of Quests – both Space and King’s alike – I’ll admit I was a bit dismayed to find the fan response to Odd Gentleman’s resurrection of King’s Quest far less than other episodic series. Truth be told, I would argue this series remains the most similar to its roots than its older kin from Telltale’s episodic series. Chapter One: A Knight to Remember was an exciting first step back into the puzzle solving, dialogue branching favorite of mine.
After a long five-month wait, Chapter Two: Rubble Without a Cause is a solid continuation of the superb writing, gentle high-brow humor, and even more mind-bending puzzles that continued to bedevil me for far longer than I thought my intellect would allow.
Rubble Without a Cause has the same basic setup: the aged, bed-ridden King telling stories to his precocious granddaughter, but the timeline has moved on beyond King Graham’s days as a wannabe knight to a young and irresponsible regent. In Grandpa’s new story, the young king of Daventry finds himself imprisoned by the tribe of the rock-like goblins you might remember from Chapter One. Nor is he alone, with several familiar faces from the town trapped in the Goblin’s dungeons with him.
This time, around it’s all about escape. In between solving all of the puzzles necessary to expedite your escape, much of your time will be keeping them fed and healthy; ignore any of them for too long and they’re carted off, removed from the game.
There are other frustrations to this chapter too. Set almost entirely underground, the backdrops are fairly-recycled. It’s also roughly two hours shorter than the six hour chapter one, and you’ll end up revisiting the same locations over and over again. Second episode slump has been a problem for so many episodic games, ranging from Telltale’s earliest adventures to Game of Thrones and Minecraft: Story Mode.
Rubble Without a Cause still retains all the other good points of A Knight to Remember, however. It’s brilliantly-written, funny, crammed with excellent voice-work and in possession of some fantastic puzzles, a few of which will really leave you struggling. The goblins, who appear to have turned fairy tales into some kind of religion, make brilliant comic adversaries, and turning their obsessions against them is a real pleasure. Similarly, the characters you met in the first game are only growing more likable and interesting with time. Finding out what they need and making sure they get it always throws up some comic payoff to keep things moving merrily along.
It’s hard to say if Chapter Two: Rubble Without A Cause was truly worth five months of waiting, but the quality is certainly in keeping with the previous iteration, making the outlook for the remainder of the series very bright indeed. Here’s hoping Chapter Three comes much quicker without losing any luster.