King's Quest - Chapter 2: Rubble Without a Cause
King’s Quest - Rubble Without A Cause is the second of five chapters in the new, critically acclaimed reimagining of the classic King’s Quest game series. In this latest adventure, King Graham takes players back to his first test as ruler of Daventry. When a mischievous horde of goblins takes his kingdom hostage, a newly crowned and woefully unprepared Graham must rise up to free his people and prove himself the leader he was destined to become. Will Graham and his friends unearth a way to escape their rock-brained captors? Will he take for granite everything he learned as an adventurer? Does he have the stones to reclaim his mantle and lead his kingdom to safety? Will the hat make it out ok? It’s time to tell your story.
Steam User 25
I've really been enjoying this reboot of the King's Quest series, but I have to say that this installment is the weakest of the two. It's very short on playtime, probably about three hours, and a lot of my questions remain unanswered—not so much about the plot, as about why the devs chose to do certain things. I played this chapter twice: halfway through without a Chapter 1 save (I picked the wrong slot), and then again with a Chapter 1 save, and I was surprised that certain decisions you made don't have anything to do with anything here. I expected that having made "good" choices would've given me at least one perk from one specific character, which he says he will do, but the devs cop out on that and he gives you something useless instead. If you were "good" to him, he also offers you a "half-off discount," except if you were "bad" to him, his prices are the same. That was frustrating in and of itself.
The journey was pretty fun, but it was dampened by me thinking certain choices were going to have extremely negative consequences... which it turns out isn't the case. All is forgiven at the end. I was also looking for a bigger climax, like in Chapter 1, but there really isn't one here.
I was also wondering why Graham couldn't have just told certain characters, "Hey, this is the situation," instead of telling them nothing. For example...
...why couldn't Graham have told Bramble that she could only drink half the cure potion so you could give the other half to Mr. Fuzzycakes? And for that matter, why did Bramble need medicine, anyway? Wente flat-out says she's sick because she's pregnant... so how is medicine going to help?
Lots of questionable decisions by the dev team on this one. It felt rushed. I'm willing to wait longer for the next one, if that's what it takes to get us something like Chapter 1.
Steam User 11
Interested in a review of the full-game? Visit my King's Quest review for an overview.
Out of all the following episodes, I think Episode 2 is considered the worst by many because of how far the tone and the gameplay change for the worst. They are not wrong for feeling cheated in some way as episodic releases are hard to judge by how much the quality and direction can change, and if Episode 2 was isolated by itself it could be viewed as being inferior to Episode 1.
On reflection after completing the whole game, Episode 2 does a lot of good ideas amongst some rougher ones that are harder to accept, and if you had read my overview review I describe Episode 2 as a meta-puzzle for an adventure game rather than the traditional approach of the introduction.
Riddle Me This, Puzzle Me That; What Makes One Not Feel Bamboozled or Tat?
On paper, the idea of making a puzzle and story centered around your choices and their consequences is nothing new to modern adventure games as the interaction with the storytelling is the standard. However, what if the puzzle itself was the story to tell, the mishaps your choices to discover, and the result was always going to leave you guessing “What if…?” and feeling something could be changed for the better?
Episode 2 takes the message of the story it tells about living with the choices you make along with your mistakes to heart by making the obstacle of who you choose to save the puzzle. In all honesty, unless you have a guide to save all the major characters you will make one intentional mistake that will cost you the ability to save someone to Day 5. Each day you are given various tasks by the Goblins and opportunities to explore the dungeon to find other items for the day or the proceeding future. In order to keep you second-guessing yourself, you have to remember to hide your items as a mental checklist or risk having them confiscated, and if they are taken away you have to figure out how to get them. Your options are limited each day and there are certain triggers that will end the day for you that you will not be aware of until subsequent playthroughs.
To the players who are not turned off by this idea, the reward of saving most of the captives by subsequent runs of trial-and-error solutions and observations each day (out of 5) is the triumph of the puzzle. No matter how diligent you are on being the good guy you cannot save everyone, and that is rather the point of the story King Graham shares in this episode about the responsibilities of being the king and its hardships. Because you can influence the five days in numerous ways as well as influence the escape sequence with at least three different companions, the repetition of this puzzle doesn’t end in an illusion of choice while the story is also written to consider an unavoidable failure.
You Never Consider Papercuts When It’s All on Paper
However, as much I do enjoy how this episode handles the standard trope of the illusion of choice in a real puzzle, I cannot say its execution is not without a lot of flaws that are harder to accept.
The most obvious of glairing flaws is if you do not like this idea of a puzzle, then you will probably utilize an optimal guide to save as many people as you care for. The other major problem many will find hard to ignore is the rather shift in tone from Episode 1 to 2 as the captives from Episode 1 you visit in the dungeon slowly wither away and die, and their deaths are shown as body-bags lifted away. Although the significance of someone dying is important to the story, I don’t think the ending with a compassionate/brave/wise resolution to the Goblin King by telling them a new story fits the overall tone of friends withering away. In the end, you have to learn to accept this story as King Graham says, “for what they are and not what they hoped they would be.”
On a more gameplay-focused criticism, the repetition of the episode could be seen as a solution to the episodic drought that happens between each release in some poor way of getting more out of the game. The far more annoying problem is when solutions for the “save almost everyone” can be so specific in what order you handle them (ex. the frog and the fly) that you’ll make a mistake without knowing and it discourages figuring it out on your own without replaying the entire episode. This is the only episode that is plagued with such an idea, and had the game continued to be marred by such poor design I would likely be wary of what would come next.
Shred the Pages; Skip the Next Chapter; or Wear Band-Aids
As much as I have serious issues with the episode, the story presented and the unique ideas in this episode works when it matters most. A great intro followed up by a shaky first couple of misteps is no good reason to throw away the whole book.
Worst case scenario, you can bypass the episode with little or no baggage affecting future episodes; at best, you can enjoy the experience with all its flaws for the moments of brilliance and entertainment. It's your choice in the end and you can choose what consequences are worth bearing.
Steam User 13
First, let me start off with the negative factors of this game:
1. Too short in comparison to the first episode.
2. As another reviewer mentioned, I replayed Chapter 1 and saved the Merchant of Miracles from the Goblins. From his conversation, I expected at least some sort of discount or perk at the very least. Yes, its true that the character is duplicitous by nature but I still feel as if we should have been rewarded some how.
3. Lack of larger scale action events and death sequences as was seen in the first game. Ex. Dragon escape/first person sequences and goblin hord rush when saving the merchant
4. The game felt rushed. I would have welcomed additional content even if it took longer.
The positive factors:
1. Excellent puzzle design like in the first game and branching story mechanics. There are some different endings as well which was a nice touch (can't go into too much detail so as to not spoil anything).
2. Excellent artwork and atmosphere.
3. Great humor.
4. Great storytelling.... I am hoping that they start telling stories about Dark Wizards and genies like in the original games. I loved adventuring in Mordack's castle in King's Quest 5... if we could have a setting similar to that I'd love it. The same old Daventry and caverns are being used... they should switch up the game settings and even up the character variety as well.
It was a great game that made you use your brain and really forced you to make choices that mattered (mostly). The game had excellent puzzle design and told a compelling story. It was a bit of a let down at the end as I somewhat expected it but maybe a larger overarching villain that we haven't seen would be nice. If they change up the setting and heroes/villains of the stories a bit as well as make the next Episode longer, that would be my desire.
I would recommend this game to fans of the adventure genre. Just don't expect it to be as lengthy or engaging as the first game.
Steam User 9
I really enjoyed this chapter. Is it short? Yes. Especially for $10. It's worth it if you bought the season pass or complete collection, but as a stand alone DLC $10 is a bit too much for 2-3 hours of gameplay. With that being said, this chapter is also rather different from the first chapter. Many people have complained about this, but if you actually play the chapter (I won't give away spoilers), the end of the chapter pretty clearly shows why things are the way they are. It sets up the next stage of the story and details a new nemesis. The decisions you make in this chapter actually feel like they matter, and some of the puzzles are quite difficult. I found no problem doing this chapter without a walk through, but be prepared to make decisions that you don't really want to make. The whole 2nd chapter really ties together excellently at the end in a satisfying way. It does a good job of setting up the future chapters. If you played the first chapter and loved it, play this chapter but don't expect it to be exactly the same. I'd give this chapter 7/10.
Steam User 7
Alright, let me start off by saying: I recommend this chapter still, cause it's still fun to play while playing it but it does have issues.
First of all: The length. It's super short compared to the first one, and honestly, isn't as good. You walk around, grab something, give it to Person A B or C and repeat and very few times was there a puzzle that wasn't related to "Bring item A to person B". This is naturally a part of the game, but I felt like in the first chapter it was more difficult to figure out where you bring what item, which also felt more rewarding. At the start of the chapter, you get faced with a huge decision, which is GREAT. I loved it. I thought I did anyways, until after I made my choice, played through the chapter and saw my choice didn't really matter at all since it had no consequences (unless something changes in chapter 3 based on this decision).
There are a lot of good things too, though. You have to manage your resources at the start in order to accomplish your job, most of the NPCs are HILARIOUS, and well, WHILE you're playing, the decision you're making is actually a super cool idea. This chapter is much more about explorations than puzzle solving, which gives this chapter an unique feel (for better or worse, it's mostly preference.) The art is very pretty, as always, the voice acting is good, and it's still FUN.
As I said, it's not bad, it's just not as good as the first one and left a bad aftertaste due to them pushing that your decision is very important, but in the end it kind of becoming meaningless.
Steam User 2
I don't get why so many people complain about this episode. It's true that it's not as colorful as the first chapter, but the different episodes are about Graham's growth as a character and this chapter captures his fear of failing as a king quite well. The leveldesign simply became overall darker and smaller to emphasize Graham's discontent of being trapped.
This game is a lot of fun to play and the puzzles are not too easy nor too hard. The character cast is pretty much the same as in the first episode but it is fun to talk to them and they act differently, according on how you treated them in the first episode.
Steam User 4
Anyone saying "Oh this only took half as long as the first chapter" are forgetting the only reason it's shorter is because you can actually skip dialogue. When you replay the first chapter you realizer how much time you spent actually listenging to people talk. This chapter is excellent and now that dialogue is skippable, you spend less time blankly staring atyour screen listening to people talk. Try and play this episode without skipping any cutscenes and see how much longer it really is.