Trash Quest is something I like to call a ‘Microvania’. It plays essentially the same as a normal Metroidvania, with an open area that can be explored further upon acquiring additional upgrades, but it’s much smaller in scale and can be beaten in around an hour or so on the first playthrough.
My patience with Metroidvanias can be a little limited due to how stressful it is trying to remember everything you need to do and everywhere you need to go; however, Microvanias are perfect for me since there’s not much to keep a track of. Gato Roboto holds a special place in my heart for being an excellent example of that genre, but how well does Trash Quest do?
Many thanks to RedDeerGames for the review code.
ALL OVER IT LIKE A TRASH
There’s not really a lot to the story, with the nameless raccoon protagonist merely seeking out the trash pile that lies within a heavily defended space station. It’s as barebones as they come, and the game doesn’t try to hide it. Heck, even when you beat the game, there’s nothing else to do other than jump through all the garbage until you manually close the game. It’s an anticlimactic end for sure, but it only serves to highlight that the focus here is on skill progression rather than story progression.
As a Microvania, you’ll need to explore an open environment that opens up even further as you collect new stuff. You’re armed with a simple jump and a gun at the start, but your furry friend will soon obtain additional abilities as he explores the heavily armed station. Unlike most games in the genre however, combat is very much an afterthought with enemies simply adding to the platforming challenge rather than being something you necessarily need to fight. You may be underwhelmed by the rather straightforward abilities you’ll acquire (most of which are just extra jumps), but given the smaller scale of the game it never proves to be much of an issue as things are shaken up just enough to keep you invested. There aren’t a huge number of upgrades to be found either, although there are additional power ups and health upgrades dotted around behind optional harder platforming challenges. Despite not being compulsory, they’re still worth grabbing as they can prove indispensable for boss encounters. Bosses are tough, but have fair attack patterns that aren’t too difficult to learn. You’ll die to them multiple times, but it’s rarely frustrating as there’s a checkpoint right before each boss room.
DO OR (IN)DIE
Speaking of checkpoints, those are the only ones you’re going to see in the game. Your starting location is the sole spawn point in the game, and losing all your hearts will dump you right back there at the start. All progress is saved, including collected items and shortcuts unlocked, so in reality it’s not very punishing. In fact, no matter where you die, you’ll likely be able to get back to where you were in around five seconds or so… which is quite handy considering the difficulty of the game. Much like Celeste, Super Meat Boy, Dojoran, and other Splatformers, you’ll have overcome some tricky and tight platforming segments. Whilst it may not be as brutal as any of those games, it’ll certainly challenge those who aren’t accustomed to the platforming genre.
With only a small handful of compact areas, the game can be beaten in just over an hour, which is great for those who want a quick fix with the genre but don’t want the huge time investment. It certainly scratches that itch with its tight platforming, excellent music that’s reminiscent of the Mega Man games, and charming – if a little samey – visuals. Perhaps there’s not much content here for the price (unless you’re a scorechaser), but, given that RedDeerGames’ titles usually get massive discounts quite frequently, it’s certainly worth wishlisting at the very least.
I wasn’t expecting much from Trash Quest, but I ended up getting hooked and beat it in a single session. A testament to the solid platforming, perhaps, but also indicative of how short it is. Recommending it at full price may be a push unless you’re really eager for more Metroidvania goodness, but it’s certainly one to grab on a sale at the very least. Despite the name, this is certainly more gem than garbage.