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HomeGamingIs Patch Quest a roguelike, Metroidvania, bullet hell, or Pokémon-like? Yes

Is Patch Quest a roguelike, Metroidvania, bullet hell, or Pokémon-like? Yes


At first glance the world of Patch Quest is inviting, colorful and warm. However, you soon come face to face with a colossal web-slinging spider, and suddenly the world seems much more dangerous.

In Patch Quest, you play as an explorer who wants to piece together the quilted world of Patchlantis with the help of your monster friends. Your first few hours are an amalgamation of countless games that preceded it: you can tame monsters à la Pokémon, collect items à la The binding of Isaacand dodge for your life à la Enter the Gungeon. But despite its obvious inspirations, developer Lychee Game Labs has created something unique: a monster-taming roguelike completely of itself.

Each time you embark on a quest, you’ll find yourself lost in Patchlantis’ maze of a world with your monster-taming lasso and trusty blaster with only one goal in mind: pin the world back together, patch by patch. At first I ventured into Patchlantis and met my first enemy, just a moth. The fragile beetle seemed like a weak partner, but after taming the Hypnoth, he proved to be a dominant ally, whose power to make other beasts dizzy more than made up for his puny stature.

Image: Lychee Game Labs/Curve Games via Polygon

On the back of your new colleague you travel through the quilt maze, defeat enemy animals and become more powerful with fruit ammunition and talismans. You’ll clash with bosses, unlock shortcuts, and collect plants until you finally die, at which point you’ll return to your base camp. Before starting a new quest, get perks to strengthen your explorer and spread plants around the camp to strengthen your beloved pets and prepare for your next journey.

Now we’re ready to pin the parts of the world back together… Wait a minute, is that an armadillo in a hat? That’s what I’m talking about! The animals and creatures within Patch Quest lured me in with their cute behavior (even the creepy critters), but many of them aren’t interested in being my friend – some are feral beasts just looking for their next meal. The animals of Patch Quest are born wild and undomesticated, but instead of taming and collecting these animals, I must eliminate them.

Explorer on a buzzer battling a floating hand that shoots fireballs across the screen in Patch Quest.

Image: Lychee Game Labs/Curve Games via Polygon

Their projectiles fill my screen and I do my best to dodge with the minimal space I have. There are definitely points on which I should take damage or even die, but Patch Quest is forgiving in its tool kit. Instead of dodging, I can destroy or deflect projectiles, and sometimes my ‘dodge level’, which gives you the chance to take no damage when hit, is high enough to dodge all but the messiest of bursts.

Within hours, Patch Quest started to feel a little at forgiving, so I checked the difficulty settings, only to find I had been playing on the lowest possible difficulty. Being the gamer that I am, I increased the difficulty to ‘Level 8: Lethal’. Oh, I quickly learned that I’m not the gamer I thought I was. Patch QuestThe game’s difficulty ranges from inviting and approachable to punishing and chaotic. Much of the joy of Patch Quest comes from revisiting higher difficulty levels once you’ve unlocked perks and leveled up your new companions.

After some experimentation and trial and error (aka dying many times), I felt good about my understanding of Patch Quest‘s main gameplay loop. While the maze itself is predetermined, the enemies and patches themselves are different each time, giving you a new experience every run.

Base camp filled with various plants, shrubs, totems, a golden house and animals in Patch Quest.

Image: Lychee Game Labs/Curve Games via Polygon

The beginning of Patch Quest may take some time to fully work out, but each quilt starts with a single thread and needle. It quickly weaves in new gameplay elements to avoid getting dusty or lackluster. Monster taming forces you to diversify your playstyle, and it doesn’t just feel like a random gimmick to make itself different. The quest system gives you a sense of direction in the winding labyrinth, and the shortcuts keep you from endlessly navigating the maze to reach your goal. The battles tie you back in and tie you into that satisfying roguelike loop of upgrading your gear and improving your latest quest.

It’s impressive – especially for a game developed by one a person – how many disparate genres and how many different gameplay loops Patch Quest manages to juggle, without dropping a single one. It could be a Pokémon, Castlevania, Binding of Isaac, Enter the Gungeon smoothie, but it’s a smoothie I want to order again and again.

Patch Quest was released on March 2 on Windows PC. The game was reviewed using a pre-release download code from Curve Games. Vox Media has partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find additional information on Polygon’s Ethics Policy here.

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