Unity, RPGMaker and so many other assets to indies all carry an unfortunate stigma. The ability to open doors to certain indie developers to make their life easier led to almost everyone trying to build a game, regardless of experience or talent. Steam itself is overburdened with these games, to the point where trying to find a good RPGMaker release among lesser known games is a needle-in-a-haystack experience. Rage Quest seeks to parody the more amateurish creations, while adding a creative spin on a few mechanics.
The obvious problem with Rage Quest to begin with is that it all too often falls into the trap of committing the same sins as the games it mocks. This is especially evident very early on, where the long-winded introduction is forced upon the player despite the protagonist’s protests. It’s an obvious joke, but the issue is that simply commenting upon the mistake doesn’t change the fact that the game itself is forcing the player through the same experience. It’s especially evident in moments where it subjects the player to intentional frustration. Awkward camera angles and repeated rooms are used to highlight the features of a bad game, but it accidentally commits those same sins itself.
Why is this such a problem? Because so many of these errors take place early on, and because many of them are mechanically hindering, it can take some effort to realise some of the better gags at work. Combat, for example, features some very weird and wonderful enemy types which parody basic logic. These range from a generic bee enemy which is rendered useless after one sting, to a spider parodying a reliance upon recolours and a ghost which deals damage via bad puns. Equally, the jokes substantially improve after getting the airship, when many previously established gags get a massive payoff.
Without the gags, the game is short but mechanically solid. The combat is effective for what it is and is held up thanks to some incredible creativity when it comes to enemies (including one of the best final boss fights in an RPGMaker game). It’s just a shame so many of its worst flaws arise long before its true strengths become apparent.
Rage Quest is far from a perfect game, and it can be extremely trying at times. With that being said, when it is funny it proves to be utterly hilarious and there are some genuinely good ideas on display within the game. If you have been burned by RPGMaker creations one time too many, you will likely get a good few laughs out of this one, but without that context it can be difficult to appreciate its humour.