Some games speak to your very soul as a gamer and one such game for me was Loony Quest from Libellud. From the first time I heard about it I knew I must seek it out and force my friends to play it. Which is exactly what I did.
A Quick Overview
Loony Quest is the closest simulation I can find of a board game version of Sonic the Hedgehog or Rayman or Mario or really any other platformer where speed is of the essence
In Loony Quest each player receives a transparency and a dry wipe marker which they will use to play. Then the players choose a World, I recommend starting with World 1. Set the first level in the box so that all players can see it. The rules for that level are then explained. The players need to draw one of 4 things.
A Link Line links two objects on the stage.
A Move which must start at the start point but can end whenever the players choose.
A Ring must completely encircle a required object on the stage.
A Dot must be drawn so that it touches the required objects on the stage
Using these four simple activities Loony Quest simulates an entire platform experience. In one level you might just need to escape the level without hitting the rocket powered penguins, while in another you might have to link three levers to their corresponding gates in order to open the door to complete the level.
After 5 levels you finally meet the level boss, each of which has a really innovative way of being defeated. The Ice World Boss is a series of penguins on an ice ship which requires you to drop three icicles on them and to blow up both sets of TNT. While the Fire World Boss is a dragon held up by balloons over a lava pit. You must pop each balloon and drop him into the lava to win.
Loony Quest has two different types of difficulty. The Worlds themselves get progressively harder as the challenges you must complete require more accuracy or simply more lines etc. Some challenges even have you turn the board over after studying it for 30 seconds so you have to draw from memory.
The second way it introduces difficulty is through the bomb tokens which hamper your drawing ability in some way. Perhaps you have to draw left handed, or with one eye closed or balance a token on the end of your pen as you draw, or as happened in our last game, left handed, elbow out straight, grasping the pen between your thumb and little finger and with your board upside down, all at once!
Why Choose It?
I sometimes make bad choices for Games Night and bring a game too advanced for the group, however with Loony Quest you can’t go wrong. It’s a game where everyone just has to draw a line or a circle and it’s bright and colourful and fun. However, the real reason I brought it is because I wanted to play it!
Did They Like It?
They did, although I still don’t think anyone likes it nearly as much as me. Each time Loony Quest hits the table we never stop after just one world. And each world is very different, sure you’re just drawing lines or circles but how they use those drawings is cool and innovative every time.
Loony Quest is undeniably a simple game but it’s so much more than the sum of its mechanics. Firstly, it’s a Libellud game which means it just looks fantastic. The art in this game is phenomenal and really evocative of some of the best platformers. I’d love to see some official expansions that allow you to play through some classic mario or sonic but the included worlds are really a treat for the eyes.
The second thing is the price point which is ridiculously low, the average retail price is around £20 and the base set ships with 7 Worlds (42 Levels), so reliving your platforming days with up to four friends doesn’t even cost the earth.
But the true beauty of this game has to be the simplicity, even Bob can manage to draw a line or put out some dots without Mrs Bob to hold his hand. I can teach this game to anyone and in less than a minute we can be up and having fun. And it is fun. The various penalty and bonus tokens, the wide variety of levels and activities really make this a fun and interesting time with high-five moments, laugh out loud moments and even rage-quit inducing moments. Plus the whole thing plays out in a completely reasonable 20 minutes or so.
I can’t recommend Loony Quest enough for a light hearted, family friendly game. It’s not strategically deep but it does require a high level of dexterity to score well, a skill that clearly my game group does not possess (our highest score for “World 5” was 10!). It’s replayable with plenty of Worlds to explore out of the box and another batch available in the expansion, which comes in at just under a tenner! Bargain!