DLC Quest is a humorous jab at the game industry from the perspective of a retro platform game that requires the purchase of downloadable expansions to perform even the most basic functions.
The game begins with no sound and no animation. In fact, you aren’t even able to jump or move left! These features aren’t included out of the box, of course. Instead, you are granted the privilege of purchasing these advanced gameplay features from an in-game vendor. All of the gags you would expect to see are here, including the infamous expensive horse armor. Thankfully, as the game reassures us early on, no ACTUAL real-life currency is involved. All transactions are conducted using coins collected inside the game.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a “game” here. Unlocking DLC is required in order to progress the purposely generic, but ultimately uninspired “story”. Once you get going, it’s pretty much a straight path to the finish line: Collect enough coins to unlock the next DLC pack, rinse, repeat until the credits roll. There is no death. In fact, there is no way to fail. In that respect, DLC Quest is, in a sense, closer to old Lucasarts adventure games. Enemies function merely as passive roadblocks that only additional downloaded content can alleviate.
Ultimately the only real replay value is in doing speed runs, collecting coins, unlocking the DLC as fast as possible, and comparing your times against a leaderboard. Currently the top 10 is filled with people who finished the game in 12 minutes. I believe I spent just over twice that amount of time playing. The recent addition of a second quest (“Live Freemium or Die“) helps extend the value, but this is still a short game.
DLC Quest is a genuinely funny commentary on the state of micro-transactions and downloadable content in gaming. It may run the joke into the ground by the end, but at roughly $3 in most digital stores, it’s worth a look. Just don’t expect any sort of serious challenge.