Quench Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Axon Interactive

Published By: Axon Interactive

Reviewed By: Leigh Wynne

Thank you so much to Axon Interactive for providing a review code.

Story

Quench is centered around the grand pilgrimage that a few different animal factions travel, during every new generation. However, this time something’s not quite right. This time the great tree bears a new life, a glowing white bird known as “The Shepherd” an avatar of nature and life.

Your mission is to help guide each tribe through their journey by using your magical elements. You’ll have to strike down thunder to set fire to thorny brambles, fill dry creeks with rushing water, or blow away sand and dust from ancient sites.

There’s a whole world waiting for you out there and only you can guide the young and inexperienced elephant leader and his herd through the harsh wildness.

Meet up with new tribes and solve issues, because as your herd becomes larger so will the obstacles that stand in your way. You will be harassed by evil smoke beasts that want to scatter your tribe and stop you from progressing. Will you falter in your mission, or will you save your animal tribe.

Elephants Journey – The Pride

In the beginning you will only have one herd to control which are the elephants. You’ll find multiple environments and nature elements that will affect your herd in a number of different ways. Every time your herd is moving, it’s stamina meter located in the top left-hand corner will deplete. If the meter depletes completely your herd will perish. So, to keep them healthy and moving you’ll need stop at certain points were vegetation can be consumed. Doing, this this will restore your herds stamina meter. 

You can also use your powers to restore the meter, by either using your rain ability to keep the herd cool, or if an animal falls or is in a state of dying you can shock them back to life with your thunder ability. It’s these elements that are the backbone of Quench’s gameplay mechanics.

Control Your Powers

The controls in Quench are pretty easy to learn and never really get too complicated to use. Let’s start out with how the herd is controlled.

Your herd remains at a standstill, while you plan out a route or solve a puzzle ahead. Upon selecting your herd you have multiple different paths you are allowed to take by using the directional pad to select different destinations. Pressing the A button will cause your herd to begin to move on that path that you’ve selected.

 It will be your job to make sure the path is safe by completing objectives and solving puzzles, that will make the area safe for your animals to progress through.

When actions need to be taken, you need to open your elemental wheel with the X button. This will bring up your elemental powers and by using the left analog stick you can select an ability to use.

Once you have more than one herd under your control you can swap between them with the L & R bumpers.

Other buttons such as ZL and ZR can be used to control the camera and up and down on the directional pad can allow you to zoom in and out. The + button is used to look at current objectives.

There’s a tutorial at the beginning and throughout your adventure with more in-depth information on environmental hazards and other mechanics that will appear during your journey.

Power of Elements

As a shepherd you’ll need to guide the herd across the landscape avoiding hazards, smoke beasts and trying solve various different puzzles along the way. This is where your unique elemental abilities come in.

You have the power to control the elements such as rainfall, wind, earthquakes and lighting.

Each of these abilities can be used in a number of different ways to help your herd, travel across vast expansions, or help out other factions the you’ll meet along the way.

For example, there are sacred areas that can grant you more elementary charges during certain quests. These areas are normally shrouded in some sort of hazard/puzzle.

Puzzles may require you to use your abilities to either flood a dry river bed with water, or shake loose boulders to block an entrance to trap smoke beasts. Using these powers will consume one charge, once all charges are used up you won’t be able to use that power any longer. Some levels allow you infinite charges, but it depends on the mission parameters.

Other times you may need to do multiple steps to achieve a goal, such as using earthquakes to destroy boulders that are blocking your path, then using your gust ability to blow away sand that can drain your herds stamina meter when walking on it. Each action will allow your herd to progress further and make it to their goal.

Beware that some quests will allow you to have an infinite amount of elemental charges, while other quests may restrict you with only a few. You can gain more charges by finding places where abilities can be earned by completing a puzzle.

These sacred areas have stones with symbols that correspond to your abilities. Successfully completing or clearing out these areas will supply you with more charges, letting you use your powers more than you normally could have. Sites where powers can be obtained are normally shown with small rocks with varying different symbols carved into them.

Other areas of interest are pasture lands, that can sometimes be covered with thorny bushes, or sand and need be cleared so the herd can use them to graze.

Puzzler

Many puzzle titles only rely on gameplay and usually lack a concrete story. Quench is not like that. I really liked that Quench had strong puzzle solving mechanics and combined them with a meaningful narrative. It’s something you don’t see everything, and felt like a breath of fresh air.

The mechanics are engaging and you really get to see how your interactions change the world around you. These are overall very strong puzzle mechanics.

Factions

During your journey you’ll encounter many different animal factions that need your help.  From the quick, agile gazelles to the stoic wildebeests and the proud lions. Each faction has their own issues and problems that need to be addressed as you progress.

Smoke beasts – The Hunted

During your journey you will encounter creatures known as smoke beasts.  These creatures come in many different forms and will attack your herd, upon seeing them. They will immediately chase you scattering your herd if you venture too close. 

They’re rather speedy, so before you decide to cross their paths, it’s best to use your unique abilities to stop them. For example, you can encounter a swarm of fireflies that swarm as soon as you draw close. So to move them out of your way you can use your gust ability to blow them in different direction avoiding them all together. Larger smoke beasts can be hit with your thunder ability which can kill them pretty quickly. However, upon death these creatures leave behind an infected zone that can effect your herd, so be careful.

Presentation

Quench has a lovely cell shaded look that doesn’t focus on the details, but still manages to look quite nice on the big screen. Pastel like colors drench quench’s world with soft brown’s and lush green’s that makes everything look as though they’ve been made from paper.

The soundtrack is equally calming with beautiful nature sounds. There were a few other styles of music as well and I found it to be quite relaxing.

Summary

I really enjoyed my time with Quench. It’s such a unique puzzle experience that has tons of different types of puzzles and objectives to clear, all the while you’re trying make sure your heard of animals survives the journey.

I loved the naturalistic setting and the cel shaded art style that brings quench’s world to life. The soundtrack is also quite relaxing and I enjoyed using the elemental powers to help my herd through difficult times. Its heart breaking watching your animals come to harm by environmental hazards, or by the devious smoke beasts. It does feel very rewarding when you do successfully guide your herd to their objective.

My only real issues was that there were a few performance issues with the frame rate on bigger maps. Other than that I found Quench to be a rather charming adventure that will let you appreciate the delicate balance of nature and the beauty of life in the wild.

7/10

Pros

  • Unique Puzzle Experience
  • Beautiful Cell Shaded Art Style
  • Interesting Story
  • Buying This Game Can Help Support a Clean Water Charity

Cons

  • Performance Issues

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