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Game Info:

Queen's Wish: The Conqueror
Developed by: Spiderweb Software
Published by: Spiderweb Software
Released: September 11, 2019
Available on: macOS, Windows
Genre: Role-playing game
Number of players: 1
Price: $19.99
(Humble Store Link)

Spiderweb Software has been making turn-based role-playing games for more than 25 years. At this point, most fans are well aware of what Spiderweb produces and what to expect. Their latest game, Queen's Wish: The Conqueror, is still a turn-based role-playing game, but introduces a few new elements to shake up the old formula.

As with other Spiderweb games, it's an isometric approach, with minimal sound effects, lackluster graphics and a fantastic storyline. In Queen's Wish, your character is a prince or princess of the nation of Haven, and has lived a life of luxury within the palace walls. That changes one day when your mother, Queen Sharyn, calls you to the throne room. It has come time to prove your worth, and you are tossed through a portal to a distant continent called Sacramentum. Haven once had a colony here, wedged between three different nations, and it is your job to re-establish it. You have to find the leaders of the three nations surrounding your outpost and persuade them to once again become Haven's vassals. While working on that, you are supposed to learn why Haven had to leave Sacramentum in the first place, and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. Oh, and if you can avoid dying in the process, that would be great.

Those familiar with the company's style will already know how the games play out. When combat ensues, each of the characters in the party will be able to move across a game grid and take actions. The enemies do likewise. The turn order depends on the speed statistic, and those with a high-enough speed (usually as the result of a spell) may actually get to act multiple times before others. As the characters gain experience, they gain levels and skill points. These points can be added to various abilities and spells, giving those characters more options when in combat. There's certainly nothing new here.

Queen's Wish: The Conqueror
Highlights:

Strong Points: Great story; different twists to traditional RPGs
Weak Points: Weak graphics; nearly nonexistent sounds
Moral Warnings: RPG violence; some undead; some blood

But there are a few changes that add a twist to the traditional formula. For starters, for the most part, you don't get any experience from defeating monsters. Instead, you only get experience points by clearing certain “dungeons” or completing quests. In fact, if you go into a region and find that you have to retreat back to one of your forts, you may find that all those monsters you had defeated earlier are back when you return. You are required to clear it all in one go in order to succeed. Another twist is that many of the best items in the game don't come from looting the lairs of dragons or other beasts, but those you build yourself. Last – but certainly not least – you have to rebuild Haven's forts on the continent of Sacramentum. As you rebuild the forts, you will gain access to each of the different nation's “races,” and can add them – and their unique culture's abilities – to your party. You also can build shops and fortifications in each fort. The more shops you have constructed, the better gear you can create. By improving the walls and building guard towers and barracks in each fort, you also lower the chance of theft in each region and enhance your to-hit and defensive bonus in the process. Each of these improvements requires additional resources from the surrounding area, though – which means clearing the dungeons so your workers can access them. So in addition to the role-playing mechanics, there's a resource-management sim built into Queen's Wish as well.

Despite its strengths, there are a few weaknesses as well. Sound effects are minimal but functional, and aside from the introduction to new areas and the opening scenes, music is nonexistent. The graphics are good, but certainly not amazing. In fact, some of the graphics have been recycled from prior Spiderweb games. This is the first Spiderweb game to include a feature allowing you to design your character – given that many RPGs include this as a standard feature, it's a bit surprising that it took this long to include it. Even with its problems, though, this is still the closest that you can find to a tabletop gaming experience without having to connect online.

Queen's Wish: The Conqueror
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 5/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 82%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

As far as the moral front, there are a few instances where pentagrams appear as areas where monsters can be summoned. There are some undead monsters that can appear, including the ability for the player to summon and control skeletons. When enemies are killed, they go flying off the screen and leave small splotches of blood. There are some subtle political messages in the game as well. For example, one of the regions – the Ahriel – is governed by wealthy elites who live in a hard-to-reach city, who enact rules with little concern for the citizens who live in the rest of their region. This seems to echo the exact problems that Washington State is going through, and I am sure that other states in the United States can also relate. Given that Spiderweb Software is based out of Seattle, this is likely not a coincidence.

All in all, Queen's Wish: The Conqueror is a very good game with a fun story line and challenging gameplay. While it may not look like much when compared to other AAA titles, it shouldn't be overlooked in terms of quality of writing. This is the first game of a trilogy that is bound to be a classic, much like the Avernum games that came before it.

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J. Todd Cumming

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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