The Office Quest launched on Nintendo Switch today on the Nintendo Shop, and is also available for a reasonable price on PC on Steam, Android and iOS. It was developed and published by 11Sheep. It is side-scrolling, point-and-click, puzzle platform game.
AIR Entertainment obtained a digital copy of the game from 11Sheep for review purposes.
Here is trailer for the Switch release:
When I first saw the cover image for The Office Quest, and also when I started up the game, I thought “What the hell is this?” I have never seen the PC version or trailer for the game, and it was the first time I was experiencing anything to do with it. At first glance, I wondered if I was setting myself up for a bad review.
And then the game began. There are no tutorials, but for once you don’t need one. Everything about this game has to do with working out what to do next. With that, you begin in a corporate office, bored out of your skull. Any attempt to leave your desk promptly urges your manager to tell you to get back to work. Your first mission therefore is to find a way to leave without them noticing.
There is a red floating ball of light that leads you on your quest out of the office. While everyone else is hard at work, your desire is to chase this red light and therefore lead your way out of the office. Which makes the ending kind of ironic, but I won’t spoil that for you.
There are a total of four chapters in the game, which took me only a few hours to complete (with a break in-between). I’m sure playing again on a speedrun would massively reduce that time, but on a first play through you’re going to need some time to work your way through the chapters.
While there isn’t a major story to go on, each scene in each chapter will keep you very captivated from start to end. A little warning: play this alone to preserve your sanity. I was playing the game with my wife and children watching on the television, and I had them taking turns shouting what they believed was the solution to the puzzles. I had to ask them several times for silence, just so that I could get a chance to think.
Which is what makes the game so enticing and engaging. Some of the puzzles are what I have seen during psychometric tests when going for job interviews. There are puzzles that are quite challenging, and others that should be done on a fresh mind and not when you are overtired. You may even be tempted to google for an answer (thankfully I didn’t), but many of these puzzles cannot simply be searched for (unless you look for an online guide to the game). However, to fully enjoy the game, it is suggested that you don’t search for the answers and try and work them out yourself. Otherwise it defeats the purpose of the game.
While in the end the amount of chapters felt short, it was enough to make me feel satisfied for having completed it. The characters are quirky and fun, and there are many hilarious moments that will have you giggling, if you aren’t a stuck-up office worker that is. The story deserves a high score for originality and fun, in lieu of a massive storyline.
The gameplay mechanics are simple enough, especially for the Nintendo Switch. The only buttons you will be using are the stick for movement, A-button to click, and B-button for back. Nothing else is really needed.
Now as simple as that sounds, the complexity comes with the puzzles. When you click on various objects, the main character will either do something, or tell you that he needs something to complete the task, or tell you that he does not know what to do with the object… yet.
What I loved is the sense of completion with each task. If an object needs something done, the arrow will change to a hand. If the arrow remains an arrow, there is nothing to be done. If you are done using the object or it is no longer required, the arrow will not change. I have used this technique many times to work out what must still be done in any given area.
I won’t say any of the puzzles are hard. It just requires some thinking. My years of playing Sudoko finally paid off when the game had its own version of it. There were some puzzles I recognised, but if I had never played them before I might have been pondering what to do for some time. I love how they challenged me, in the same way that I suppose work sometimes does. It felt like I was going through a teambuilding exercise, and I would highly recommend this game for just that.
While being simple and easy in terms of gameplay, I feel this benefited the game in that it gave you more focus on the actual puzzles. Sometimes a whole scene or stage itself will be the puzzle, and you will be heading back and forth through areas to solve it. This makes the game very engaging. The inventory is a simple strip at the bottom of the screen. But don’t worry… you won’t have to decide what to use where. Your character will do that for you.
SOUND AND GRAPHICS
The graphics is another area that caught me off-guard. When looking at the screenshots below you wouldn’t expect me to be impressed or give it a high score. But the cartoon graphics work for this type of game!
And I am not just talking about how it looks. The quality of the graphics comes in where it is used. I was amazed at how expressive each character is. The main character will look at you, sometimes as if you are stupid, when you are trying to interact with him or the environment.
I also love how certain actions have been played out, sometimes causing me to laugh harder than I thought I would. The graphics give the game that comical air to it, without which The Office Quest would be a dull, boring game.
Of course, graphics is everything in a point-and-click puzzle game. There is also a hint of hidden object games, when you have to look for certain items. Figuring out what to do with objects is all to do with the graphics, and I must say that the developers pulled this off very, very well.
There have been fun moments with the sound too, while the background atmosphere is very soothing to the ears. There are musical moments, and also moments where grunts can be heard instead of speech. Some puzzles have the sound as a basis, such as when musical notes had to be played based on five people dressed as various fruit.
It isn’t often that sound is used in puzzles these days, but it reminds me of the old Myst games where sound and sight was everything. I would have liked a few more sound games to be honest, and if there are more chapters to come, I hope they incorporate sound more. It was really enjoyable.
The Office Quest presents itself as an unassuming game, but once you get into it you realise just how amusing and amazing it is. The story could have been a little longer, as it really makes you want more of it. It is a family game that everyone will enjoy playing together, if you give each other a chance to come up with the solution. With fun, quirky cartoon images and wonderful puzzles to sort through, these few hours of your time will really brighten up your day.
The Office Quest receives 9/10 for an overall score.