Let’s start by saying that Sierra Entertainment listens to it’s audience. Apparently, a lot of people complained about the inability to skip scenes in the first episode when they do a replay. Guess what the second episode allows you to do? That’s right, you can skip scenes that aren’t plot relevant or particularly interesting the third time round. I really like the fact that Sierra Entertainment took on this criticism and did something about it.
However, I will note that the autosave feature is still a pain in the console. I know it’s a ‘stick with your decisions sort of game’ but there is a slight flaw in it which makes it difficult for you to progress in the game. Especially when playing the second episode because the saves aren’t separate. If you mess up in Rubble, you can’t delete it without erasing A Knight to Remember meaning you would have start from the very beginning in order to correct any minor mistake you make. Other than that, I have very little qualms with the second episode.
I didn’t realise this the first time playing but the different paths you take in the game are under certain themes. The player has the choice to take the paths of; compassion, bravery and wisdom. This is actually represented by the different NPCs, Amaya values bravery above all else, Wente the Baker nudges Graham towards compassion and Muriel and Chester Hobblepot praise wisdom.
Each path leads to a different narrative, though you don’t have to stick to a particular one when you progress to the next episode. For my first run through I went with bravery because let’s face it, Amaya is a badass. The second run through I focused on the baker due to the hilarious results of ending in the first episode. But if you want to do bravery for the first episode or wisdom for the second, the player is completely free to do so.
Rubble Without a Cause takes place a couple of years after the knight tournament with Graham having been crowned king. It starts off with Graham seemingly comfortably until the scene falls into under chaos with the new king screaming ‘distress’. Although the idea of being king seemed fun to Graham when he was competing, he’s beginning to feel the weight of the crown. In order to make himself feel better, he goes to visit the person whose path you took in the previous episode.
As Graham arrives at the town, everything is eerily quiet and no one is answering the door. When the player turns to leave the main town, Goblins kidnap you. Goblin’s are briefly seen in the first game causing general trouble like stealing peoples mattresses and kidnapping goats masquerading as unicorns. It turns out that the little pests have kidnapped the NPC’s from the first game too. The goblins manage to snatch Graham at his most vulnerable moment, taking him to their hideout underground. With his friends held captive alongside him, it’s up to Graham to save them.
I love how weird this episode was, it certainly stepped up from the last episodes narrative into something bigger. It escalates from goblins kidnapping people to them taking fairytales to a literal approach. There’s one scene in which you walk in on a group of goblins kissing a frog to make it a prince. I mean, goblins are ugly but they need a self esteem boost. The captive characters also begin to have kooky side effects of being denied porridge by the goblins which includes Chester offering to lick the goblins backs. Such a beautifully weird writing style.
The dialogue options have changed a little too, forcing the player to make quick decisions so you have to pay attention to what’s happening. Like the previous games, the decisions that you make shape the story and now there’s a rush to make sure the player makes a decision quickly. However, there are harsh options that are forced upon the player too. Mid-way during the episode one of the decisions has a Mass Effect choice where you have to decide between two characters, the result is that one of them will die no matter what. If there is a way to save them both, I haven’t found it yet.
Again, the writing was on top form for this episode. The first episode mainly stuck to a humourous quality which suited the bright atmosphere of the graphics. Although the humour remained in Rubble, the developers have set the aesthetic to match the situation which the characters are in. Graham is stuck in an underground area so this episode tends to be a little darker but still uses pretty graphics. You can play a game and see the time and effort someone has put into making it beautiful to see but the story be pretty lackluster. King’s Quest manages to combine these two effects without people wanting to poke their own eyes out or give up out of sheer boredom.
I’d like to take a moment and talk about the small things that shape the game. Because the music for this episode was great. Each section provided its own individual atmosphere tailored to immerse the player in the particular puzzle they were doing. It’s great to go through all these different and see the layers that the developers have sew together for a brilliant experience in gaming.
The puzzles also seemed to have gotten harder in this episode which involves a lot of running around again. The player also has the task of building up Graham’s strength so the player has to take the long way round to certain areas which gets pretty annoying when you are exploring at a slow pace. Once you managed to work things out, you sort of forget that aspect though and just feel proud you’ve solved a puzzle.
Overall, I’d say that Rubble without a cause doesn’t suffer from being overshadowed by the first episode. It delivers the same amount of energy but still manages to have it’s own unique narrative. If the next episode manages to outshine the second, I will be very impressed. Until next time.
Score given: 4/5