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DS Fanboy Review: Lock's Quest

I hate tower defense. I've tried to play tower defense games numerous times, giving it my best try after MTV's Stephen Totilo's nomination of Desktop Tower Defense as his Game of the Year, and failed to clear even a single round every time -- or to have any fun trying. There's nothing fun (to me) about running out of money trying to build reinforcements and then sitting by helpless as entropy, in the form of enemy soldiers, destroys all of the work I just did.

Lock's Quest solves my tower defense problem, creating something that is playable by even non-crazy people. In the process, developer 5th Cell has added something that seems rather difficult to add to this kind of game: a story, and a good one at that.

Gallery: Lock's Quest

Continue reading DS Fanboy Review: Lock's Quest

Lock's Demo now available on Nintendo Channel

The DS demo section of the Nintendo Channel is usually swamped with bland Touch! Generations fare, but it now looks like Nintendo has abandoned that policy to bring us some potentially interesting games to try out. What a novel concept! Top of your "to download" list (if you haven't already bought it) should be Lock's Quest, 5th Cell's ace tower defense/real-time strategy, which reviewers have been throwing superlatives at from every direction (stay tuned for our review later this week).

Spore Creatures is there also, and while it may not have attracted the same loving critical response as Lock's Quest, it still piques our curiosity, simply because it's not the Spore everybody else has been banging the drum for. There's a demo of MySims Kingdom as well, which looks adorable, and an anagrams demo for sdrsorsCwo SD. These all expire October 5th, so don't delay!

Gallery: Lock's Quest

Metareview: Lock's Quest

We've been waiting since last week to pull together a collection of reviews for 5th Cell's Lock's Quest, but until roughly today, that collection would have consisted of IGN and nobody else. That is an insufficient amount of meta-ness for a Metareview! We're not just running "IGNreview" posts here!

Now that there are multiple reviews out there, we can scoop them up and present them to you as individual tiles in a mosaic titled "how good some different reviewers think Lock's Quest is." Preview: quite good.

It's really hard to pick out just one excerpt from this glowing 1UP (91%) writeup. It's pretty clear that Phillip Kollar likes the game, at least: "The game effectively straddles the line between traditional tower defense and full-on real-time strategy, requiring the more fast-paced, on-the-fly tactics of the latter without ditching the addictive, pick-up-and-play nature of the former."

WorthPlaying (90%) found it, well, worth playing: "Lock's Quest is the sort of game for which the DS was made. It's quick and easy to pick up and play, makes great use of the touch-screen, and is just an overall delightful game. It isn't perfect, and there are plenty of places for a sequel to improve on, but it's charming, fun and one of the best titles to hit the DS this year."

IGN (86%) completely fell for the game's charms: "Lock's Quest is by far one of the most original, inspired, and entertaining experiences we've had on DS this year. Everything from the unique build mode to the impressive audio/visual offering, the immersion found in cinematic intros and story-developing cut scenes throughout, and even the random tongue-in-cheek dialogue lines thrown in to remind players that this is a game, made by gamers, are very welcome."

Gallery: Lock's Quest

The Lock's Quest DS revealed!

5th Cell sent us these lovely pictures of the custom Lock's Quest DS Lite that will serve as the prize in the contest held on their website. Somebody will get this for free, as a result of playing a cool Flash game. The one-of-a-kind DS appears exactly as the previous description, uh, described. We'll outline its features:
  • Shiny, gunmetal grey system
  • Illuminated buttons
  • Hella illuminated stylized flame emblem
  • 5th Cell and Lock's Quest logos
  • Holy crap it's awesome
  • Seriously
This DS is so cool that it may inspire someone to go out and buy Lock's Quest whether they like the idea of the action-strategy game or not (we're sure more like it than don't), just because it has the words on it that are also on this. Those blazing shoulder buttons call out to us. "Wiiiiiiin meeeeee. Plaaaay the Flaaaash gaaaame."

Lock's Quest to give you a custom DS Lite

The Lock's Quest website has opened, providing such content as a really cool animated comic, screens, and trailers, as well as a Lock's Quest-themed Flash game that is best described as an isometric take on Defend Your Castle. Basically, you huck stuff at invading soldiers, archers, and others looking to breach your castle; you can upgrade and repair your fortress after each round. You get the option to submit your score after the game ends, and every submission enters you in a sweepstakes. A severely awesome sweepstakes.

What's at, uh, stake? Only a custom, extremely limited-edition (as in, an edition of one) gunmetal grey Lock's Quest DS Lite with translucent, illuminated buttons and a blue flame emblem on the back. And, of course, copies of the game. We'll have to see the real thing to be sure, but based on the concept alone, the Warhammer 40K Squad Command DS just got served in the publisher-made custom DS arena.

Latest Lock's Quest trailer shows off build, battle phases

For those of you that got a kick out of Drawn to Life, you've likely been watching Lock's Quest. Following up the video that was released back at E3, we've been sent a new trailer which details the premise of the game and shows off some of the things you can do in it. It's a really interesting title, if we may say so. What do you all think?

Gallery: Lock's Quest

[Via press release]

DS Daily: DS Developer Daily

The low cost of DS game development and the extraordinarily high popularity of the system make the DS an excellent way for new developers to find an audience. 5th Cell is a notable company who has done great with the DS -- which is why they've made this Gamasutra list of breakthrough developers. Level-5 has been huge for a while, thanks to Dragon Quest VIII, but Professor Layton upped their profile significantly.

Have any developers come to your attention since you started playing the DS? Old or new, have you become a fan of a company for their DS output? We're sure there are some out there without the number 5 in their name.

E308: Lock's Quest strategy goodies attack E3

After getting our hands on Lock's Quest, we've decided that tower defense fans need to take a look at this one (stay tuned for some impressions later!). While the trailer above doesn't do too great of a job of selling the game (sans the phrase "robot invaders"), gameplay clips make Lock's Quest look hectic and fun. Oh, and don't worry if you hated Drawn to Life, since that connection is just being played up by THQ for marketing hype.

Check after the break to see what we're talking about in terms of gameplay. Oh, and hey, whaddya know -- there are new screens in the gallery, too. Make sure to give those a look before (or after) feasting your eyes on video goodness.

Gallery: Lock's Quest

Continue reading E308: Lock's Quest strategy goodies attack E3

IGN and 5th Cell boss construct Lock's Quest interview

5th Cell co-founder and creative director Jeremiah Slaczka has taken time out from working on Lock's Quest to chat to IGN's Matt Bozon about the forthcoming construction/Tower Defense game.

In the resulting interview, there's plenty of discussion about 5th Cell's commitment to innovative games (something we can totally believe, considering 5th Cell created Drawn to Life), and also some concrete details passed on. Slaczka reveals that Lock's Quest's story mode should last for around 20 hours, and also clarifies the game's multiplayer for us: apparently, there'll be no Wi-Fi play, but wireless local play for two players, in the form of a Vs. mode.

On an unrelated-to-Lock's-Quest note, Slaczka also appears fairly keen to distance 5th Cell from THQ's licensed Drawn to Life spin-off, Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition. "With SpongeBob for example, that's our IP, but we didn't make it," he points out. "That's cool that THQ wants to move in that direction, and that's fine, but that's not something we're interested in personally."

Gallery: Lock's Quest

Too much tutorial before Lock's Quest is unlocked?

Stephen Totilo's brief impressions of 5th Cell's Lock's Quest aren't as sterling as previous impressions we've read, but only because he seemingly hasn't been able to get into the game yet. Given his status as an extreme Desktop Tower Defense fan, Totilo will probably be enchanted by the action/structure-building gameplay found in Lock's Quest, but first he has to endure a seemingly overlong tutorial level.

"I wanted to get going, to play it and enjoy it," Totilo said in a frustrated blog post. "But first it had to take me to school." Long tutorials have been a problem since games became complicated enough to need them (and since developers realized that we're not going to read the manual, no matter what). Just consider this fair warning that Lock's Quest is going to require a little prep time before it's suitable for pick-up-and-play.

Gallery: Lock's Quest

[Boxart via Gamefly]

Boxart Battle: Lock's Quest vs. eyestrain

Finally, conclusive evidence of what the new 5th Cell game's title is going to be! It would certainly be a waste of a logo if the name were to change.'s page for Lock's Quest is the first to show the game's boxart, tiny though it may be. It's definitely big enough to see what's going on: Lock, slightly Sora-like in his short pants, poses triumphantly with a big old wrench over the ruins of some Clockwork enemies, as the game's signature structures (and more enemies) loom in the background. A huge red inset advertises the Drawn to Life connection, suggesting that Drawn to Life really did well!

Even in a tiny image, we can tell that the art is excellent. 5th Cell's artists remain on top of their game. According to, the game is out September 8.

Lock's Quest videos unlocked

Defending yourself from robotic invaders isn't the easiest of tasks, but it may be one of the most fun. After hearing some interesting tidbits about Lock's Quest, such as the mechanics behind the enemy AI and its innovative strategy gameplay, we were waiting for some tasty video morsels to gnaw on. Thankfully, IGN saw fit to feed us.

After watching these videos, we also grew interested in the music we heard. It seems to invoke an oldschool Final Fantasy feel, no?

Above you can see the introduction for the game, which sets up the premise for the "construction combat". Then, if you like what you see, check past the break for some gameplay videos of Lock's Quest.

Gallery: Lock's Quest

Continue reading Lock's Quest videos unlocked

New release dates for THQ games including Lock's Quest

Gamefly's DS listings have been updated with a bunch of tentative release dates. A bunch of them are THQ games, leading us to believe that the rental service received some kind of communication from the publisher -- which makes the dates more believable.

Lock's Quest, the new strategy/action/tower-defense game from Drawn to Life developers 5th Cell, is listed for September 17. The Nickelodeon stuff has dates too, if you're interested (Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition September 24, Naked Brothers Band October 15, Tak Mojo Mistake, SpongeBob: Globs of Doom, Back to the Barnyard: Cowlympics all October 22).

Our Gamefly search has also revealed that THQ has picked up Mikoishi Studios' Drop Cast (website here) for U.S. release. According to the listing, it'll be out October 14.

Gallery: Lock's Quest

Drawn to Life: SpongeBob Video Pants

It's a credit to the original Drawn to Life's concept and quality that we're still interested in the follow-up despite 5th Cell's absence and its attached license -- SpongeBob SquarePants.

IGN previewed the customizable platformer, and while it doesn't revolutionize the draw-your-adventure formula, it's a "polished, Nickelodeon-ized" take on it. We've never played any games from Alton, the developer taking the reins from 5th Cell, so we'll have to try Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition ourselves before developing an opinion with any firmness to it.

Word has it, a two-player versus mode will be included, so look forward to pitting grotesquely phallic avatars against crude renditions of cartoon characters -- Donatello, Heathcliff, skies the limit!

See also: DS Fanboy Review: Drawn to Life

Joystiq opens up Lock's Quest

Over the weekend, Joystiq's Zack Stern got a chance to check out THQ's lineup, including the new DS strategy game (currently known as) Lock's Quest. He cleverly isolated one major difference between Lock and most tower-defense style games: the fact that your main character is on the ground, participating in the fighting. Most defense games involve building structures and setting them in motion, but Lock's Quest combines that with one-on-one real-time combat.

The enemy AI actually sounds pretty sophisticated: after the first wave, enemies learn to avoid the site of their predecessors' defeat, approaching from a new direction.

We've got new screenshots, including three delightful exclusives, featuring the amazingly vivid 2D art that is quickly becoming 5th Cell's trademark. The look has totally dashed our personal defenses. Check them out in our gallery!

Gallery: Lock's Quest

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