Plebby Quest: The Crusades Review - Comedic conquerors

Maneuver your way through Europe and the Middle East and build an empire in this turn-based strategy from the PiedPipers Team.

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After nearly a decade of development, PiedPipers Team’s Plebby Quest: The Crusades has arrived. Plebby Quest: The Crusades takes place during the era of crusades throughout Europe and the Middle East. Players will work through a number of scenarios to conqueror land and build the ultimate empire. 

New crusades

Plebby Quest features a number of real people and locations that existed during the times of crusades. Although players can interact with people like Pope Alexander III or send troops through the Republic of Venice, Plebby Quest takes a different route than others in the genre. It's the choice to ditch historical accuracy in the name of creating a more entertaining player experience.

Something that immediately appealed to me when playing Plebby Quest: The Crusades was its use of humor and its light-hearted tone. It’s quickly apparent in the game’s art style and design that the developers were going for a more cartoonish approach. The characters in Plebby quest are 2D rectangles that hop and scoot around with over the top emotes and expressions. The armies being commanded consisting of blob-like minions that could be something plucked from a cartoon. 

Historical humor

It’s this departure from the super serious and realistic tones of similar historical strategy games that made me feel like Plebby Quest: The Crusades is more my speed. This is further exemplified in the game’s dialogue. The characters are quippy and riff on each other from time to time. Even if the humor didn’t always land, the new approach to the genre feels like a breath of fresh air. 

By nature, these empire-building strategy games are intricate and complex. Though this remains true in Plebby Quest: The Crusades, the game does feel simplified. While there is still plenty to manage in terms of resources and territory, there is a noticeable decrease in the number of systems and the layers to them. The use of generals works to group many aspects of gameplay together and unite them under one banner. This “watering down” of strategy systems were a welcomed change to a newcomer like myself, but could easily turn off longtime fans of the genre. 

Different ways to quest

The two game modes available in Plebby Quest are scenario and Sandbox mode. The game heavily suggests that you start out with scenario mode, as it's meant to show you the ropes. I spent a considerable amount of time in scenario mode trying to get a hang of things in Plebby quest. The tutorial throws a lot at you from the jump. During a given turn, there are a number of options for the player. This includes developing troops, gathering resources, and interacting with other nations/leaders. Newer players would greatly benefit from a more streamlined tutorial experience. 

Sandbox mode sets the player loose to experience Plebby Quest in the way it plays best. There are a wide range of choices to be made, each having large and small ramifications on future events and relationships. This is some of the coolest parts of playing Plebby Quest. It was neat being able to build or tear down relationships with other leaders or nations, and then seeing the consequences of those choices manifest over time. Each turn,  Those who know their way around a strategy sim will find much more enjoyment in the freedom of sandbox mode.

Taking over

PiedPipers Team’s Plebby Quest: The Crusades is a fresh take on the historical strategy sim. It’s fun to conquer land, manipulate relationships, and wage war all in the name of building an empire. The use of humor helps to put a new spin on a formula much in need of some variety. Veterans of the genre may not be as impressed by the offerings in Plebby Quest, but there’s still something for everybody.


This review is based on a digital download code provided by the publisher. Plebby Quest: The Crusades is available now on PC for $19.99

Contributing Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. Donovan is currently studying broadcast journalism at Bowie State University with hopes to join the Shacknews team full time after graduation. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

Pros
  • Fun loop of building empires
  • Scenario mode provides structure for new players
Cons
  • Tutorial could be more streamlined
  • Veteran players may be put off by condensing of systems
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