Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
We played on: PlayStation 4
After what felt like a terribly long wait, the next chapter in the new King’s Quest series arrived in December. I played through the first chapter with my 6-year-old, and together we laughed at wonderfully terrible puns, grinned at Graham’s exuberance when his imagination ran away with him, and worked together to solve puzzles. We were more than excited to get our hands on the next chapter, but we were surprised at what Rubble Without a Cause had in store.
Chapter 2 opens with the same humor we loved in A Knight to Remember. To help his granddaughter go back to sleep, the old King Graham spins a tale about his early days as the new king of Daventry. Young King Graham feels the weight of the crown, struggling to make decisions. While taking a stroll to clear his head, Graham is kidnapped by some nasty goblins, and the game begins.
A new game begins, really, because at this point Chapter 2 has only a little in common with Chapter 1. Graham’s penchant for puns is diminished in such a dire situation. Instead of exploring the kingdom outside, Graham spends the majority of the chapter in a dank dungeon. And even more unsettling, King Graham discovers his friends from the first chapter are also prisoners, and it’s up to you to find a way to save them. But here’s the catch: You can’t save all of them.
King’s Quest: Rubble Without a Cause charges King Graham with some difficult decisions. You find a scrap of food, but who gets it? The blacksmith? The baker and his wife? Graham? If you run out of time, your friends are carted out of the dungeon, and you’re left feeling like you made an awful mistake. Unfortunately, thanks to the checkpoint saving system, you usually can’t go back and make a different choice.
This turned the lighthearted playtime with my daughter into a much different experience. My 6-year-old learned quickly that we had some tough choices to make, and she was a little stressed out choosing whom to save with just one vial of medicine.
For a sweet kid whose toughest decision is usually about how many chicken nuggets she wants for dinner, this was a bit of an eye-opener. We paused to talk about how the right choice isn’t always clear, and sometimes we have to just do the best we can. Oh, look, life lessons from a video game.
Chapter 2 has some of the great brainteasers that are one of the hallmarks of the King’s Quest games, and how you tackle them creates a path for a few different options to solve the game. (It didn’t appear that any of my choices from Chapter 1 had an effect on Chapter 2, however.) And the fantastic voice actors are all back as well.
Bottom line, if you enjoyed the first installment of King’s Quest, Chapter 2: Rubble Without a Cause is definitely worth the trip back to Daventry.