One Tap Quest Is Dumb And I Hate It And I Can’t Stop

By Nathan Grayson on June 4th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Gauntlet re-re-thrown, Kyle

OK, let’s make this quick. I have to get back to the Greatest Rivalry of Our Time with Ars Technica’s Kyle Orland. He posted about One Tap Quest on Twitter, inviting mortal humans like myself to have a go at his high score. I beat it handily, and then he utterly trounced mine using some sort of ancient black sorcery. I will not rest until I’ve figured out how. Oh yeah, One Tap Quest is a game where you align a little medieval adventure man’s forward trajectory and watch as he hacks and slashes his way to either strength and glory or gruesome death by poorly drawn snake. It’s an entire fantasy RPG in a single click, basically, and I HATE IT. By which I mean it’s pretty neat and I can’t stop playing it please send help.

There’s actually a lot more to the game than you might think, though I will confess that a fair amount of it is luck. Thing is, that’s where a lot of the appeal lies. As in a roguelike-like, you might encounter horrible failure once second and utterly intoxicating victory the next.

One Tap Quest really is played in seconds. You click once, your ant man scuttles into action, and anywhere between five and 45 seconds later, the deed is done. As your character progresses through the area, he slays monsters, levels up,and – if you aim him well – comes into contact with all sorts of handy pixelated items. Swords and shields give you an insta-level, blue scrolls teleport you back a bit, and beer splits you into a party of three. Those sorts of things.

The goal, then, is to become sufficiently powerful to make it past various tiers of monsters. The game randomizes them to a degree, but they’re basically in sequential order. So sure, you might be able to make it all the way to the castle by sneakily skirting the level’s edges, but a dragon or what I believe to be either a minotaur or an evil loaf of bread will slaughter you with ease upon arrival. Leaping backwards is often beneficial, as it lets you take out more monsters and gain more experience.

It’s so perfectly minimal that it’s almost absurd, and everything feels just right. The weight of each itsy bitsy impact, each nanosecond of triumph. I’ve been sitting here clicking away for at least an hour-and-a-half, trying to get just the right chains of items to appear – the yellow brick/beer roads to my destiny. I’ve started gaming the system, which I think is what you’re supposed to do, but it does take away from some of the instant satisfaction the game otherwise provides.

The more XP you enter the final wizard brawl with, the higher your overall score when you beat the game. And so you see my dilemma. Kyle’s high score is 20700. Mine is 19000. I caaaaaaaan’t do any better, but I also caaaaaan’t stop trying. So I leave it to you, and I offer this piece of haggard, time-worn wisdom: early beer, late explosive scroll. If a map layout can’t guarantee you that, you’ve already lost.

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53 Comments »

  1. Rao Dao Zao says:

    13900.

    I have no idea either.

    • dvorhagen says:

      That is exactly the same high score I got! What are the odds!? Probably higher than you’d imagine..but still!

  2. JehuGarroutte says:

    Managed to get 21600 on my third attempt.

    It’s astonishing how a single click could instill me with this much pride.

    For proof:
    http://i.imgur.com/yF1KAVz.png

  3. Ramshackle Thoughts says:

    17300. Not a bad little time-waster.

  4. InternetBatman says:

    It’s fun enough, but it’s no 2048.
    http://gabrielecirulli.github.io/2048/
    It’s a bit too random for scores to matter to me.

    • TheTourist314 says:

      Ahh, you mean a rip-off off of a better game that was already better than the clone to begin with?

      • Tacroy says:

        I honestly can’t tell what the difference is between the two, but I haven’t played either for particularly long.

      • Baines says:

        Wasn’t 2048 a clone of a clone?

  5. Ny24 says:

    14400. Sometime through the game I had a party of three. I didn’t know why.

  6. kincajou says:

    17000, though wouldnt the average score be a better indication of ability rather than top score? In this game a lot seems to come down to initial randomisation and the placement of the beers/teleport power

  7. Jerodar says:

    20500, so close to Kyle’s score :P

  8. tumbleworld says:

    Damn, that’s annoyingly addictive. Distilled roguelike.

    EDIT: 20800! The trick appears to be luck letting you hit multiple teleports, along with your assorted ales, explodey scrolls, and so on.

    • Halk says:

      I’ve got 20700 like that guy after 5 minutes, but I’ll never understand how this can be addictive. He’s been at it for an hour-and-a-half? I’d play this for 10 minutes at most. It’s basically all luck with minimum input, why would anyone be interested?

      Oh yeah, the pigeon hitting the button thing.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        People playing facebook games, butperhaps wanting something a bit more hardcore, would throw themselves at this.

    • SillyWizard says:

      Is there a way to predict where you’ll be teleported to?

  9. tehfish says:

    Best i’ve managed so far is 18300

    what an infuriating, yet utterly addictive game :D

    Alternate challenge: whats the lowest score you’ve gotten whilst still winning the game?
    13600 for me :)

  10. almostDead says:

    Given all the time in the world, I would never have had this idea.

  11. JimboDeany says:

    21000!!!! Whoop

  12. SteelPriest says:

    Damn you! 16900…

  13. Ben Barrett says:

    Fuck this game.

    (20300)

  14. sabrage says:

    Best I could do. Best I’m gonna do.

  15. Talesdreamer says:

    15800. Not bad, I suppose.

  16. hlm2 says:

    Unfortunately my friend rather than me: 22,000

    http://gyazo.com/8d67088a4d8cc75c9460730913d7d910

    • Drogzar says:

      That is weird… Level 11, 127 XP = 22,000
      But I did Level 11, 125XP and still got more with 22,300!

  17. Jockie says:

    I don’t understand why I cannot stop playing this fucking stupid game.

  18. Darth Gangrel says:

    “The only winning move is not to play” comes to mind while reading this, but as long as it doesn’t take over someone’s life or causes agony, it’s all good.

  19. Berzee says:

    I beat it in two clicks! It was lovely. And since I saved the world from a giant wizard and that’s what you’re supposed to do in fantasy RPGs: I’m all done. :D

    • Berzee says:

      Ok I lied apparently I’m playing this some more! D:
      Level 19, 110 xp, 20500 pts was my best, I think.

  20. Aardvark_Man says:

    20,200. Enough to beat Mr. Greyson, but not his worthy opponent.

  21. cpt_freakout says:

    So much fun!

  22. LionsPhil says:

    17,500, which is almost a little disappointing given I hit an ale early, a whole chain of blue blobs which hurled me backwards, two teleport scrolls, one of the big gold things, and both dragons on the way in.

    Also managed to reach the wizard without enough levels to defeat him (just five), which is quite a “challenge” (read: random chance) given it means you have to miss all the creatures at the top of the screen.

  23. SillyWizard says:

    Won twice in pretty different ways, ended up with 15,000. Am I missing something?

  24. Chris Cunningham says:

    21,000 with no teleports. \m/

    Charged straight up the middle and got a lucky late bomb scroll on a layout with about five dragons.

  25. Nenjin says:

    This was fun for 4 minutes.

  26. AskJeeves says:

    Nobody is going to mention that this game is a complete rip-off of an NES game called King’s Knight?

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Probably not, since King’s Knight is a scrolling shooter. What are you smoking?

  27. Alchemist64 says:

    I accidentally clicked a couple times after the first click, resetting the whole thing twice, but I got 17,700 on my first (kind of) try.
    Also, first RPS post!

  28. JimmyG says:

    There’s a two-finger glitch on iPhone that lets you steer. I cleared the screen for 23500, 135 exp. Did I break it?

  29. JFS says:

    It gets sorta boring after a few minutes. Well, neat idea anyways.

  30. Wedge says:

    Gets a bit sad when you realize most of the random layouts aren’t even winnable, much less a good score. Was happy that I managed to get a win WITHOUT picking up the tavern powerup. Otherwise only managed to get 19500.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Yeah. 99% of the ‘gameplay’ is constantly resetting the map while looking for a low-placed tavern, not guarded by snakes, that has a tp scroll about mid-screen, a few other powerups en route and a big pile of dragons at the end. You might as well just be rolling four dice and hoping for all sixes. Beyond recognising a map that will score well, there is nothing more to it than luck.

      Which is why it’s mystifying that I spent nearly an hour on it.

  31. The Random One says:

    The only reason I even tried a second time was to try and discover why it was that so many Smart Internet People liked it. I haven’t discovered it. It’s the most boring game I’ve played in a very long time.

  32. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I was about to get the highest score in all the fucking land when I discovered that dragons are immune to magic. AUGH!!!

  33. BongsworthIII says:

    21500 http://imgur.com/BSvYRJi stupidly moreish

  34. jodi says:

    Was trying for lowest score for a while. Can’t get below 13,500.