Spiderweb Software is not a household name, but it is well known in the RPG community. Much like the auteur-like nature of Cleveland Blakemore, Spiderweb is the brainchild of one RPG enthusiast, Jeff Vogel. Like Blakemore, Vogel is a one-man-show where his work is the product of his own efforts. Unlike Blakemore, who was notorious thanks in part to the long, troubled history of his pet project, Vogel has spawned several series that have become massive cult classics; such as the critically acclaimed Geneforge series to the two Avernium Trilogies.
Vogel’s latest project, Queen’s Wish: The Conqueror, is the start of a brand-new series steeped in the classic Spiderweb style that has been perfected over the years. Queen’s Wish is the first of what is possibly a new trilogy of games, where the player character, the young scion of your Empires Royal family, is sent to a far-away colony on the behest of your mother the queen. Your goal is to restore the colony to its former glory, though throughout the player can transform this new land into their own kingdom, away from the prying eyes of the Queen herself.
The narrative is a simple one, but it adequately sets up a world scenario that gives Queen’s Wish immediate personality over previous Spiderweb titles. Like always, players are free to interact with the world as they see fit, completing hundreds of objectives, gathering loot and treasure, and leveling up a cast of characters that are wholly customizable to help on your adventures. Up to three companions can join the player out in the field, with each character being completely fluid in terms of class builds, meaning players can respec characters as they level up.
Those familiar with Spiderweb Software titles will feel right at home with Queen’s Wish. Vogel has talked in length on his own personal blogs about what he focuses on as a developer, and visual fidelity is practically uniform across all his titles by personal choice. Instead, most of the focus is on the game’s writing and new mechanics, such as fortress building. Both of which are solid throughout.
Fortress building is a neat concept that adds a bit of strategic elements into the mix. Much of it is done through resource management; as you clear dungeons and liberate towns, you acquire new resources that allow you to build up your fortresses into living cities. There are some upgrades that can tweak the focus of your fortresses as well. Early on the upgrades are straightforward, building storehouses and barracks, rebuilding farms and the like. Later, this becomes more complex, as the fortresses can lead to specific bonuses for your troops and towns if you have the resources to make it happen.
Narrative-wise, Queen’s Wish is open-ended enough to cater to different playstyles. The early parts of the game are railroaded to ease you into the adventure, but after a while, it opens as colonization efforts go full force. The player will need to deal with several factions through diplomatic or confrontational means, and a multiple array of choices are also offered to some questlines. How you deal with these factions can determine future quests, dispositions, and even the games ending.
In truth, Queen’s Wish: The Conqueror is a pretty straightforward, open world RPG that we would come to expect from Vogel and Spideweb. The narrative is solid, the path you choose is clear, and despite lacking some character here and there, the world is perfect for someone looking to satisfy their role-playing itch now and again. Queen’s Wish won’t set the world on fire, but it will satisfy those looking for a low-key adventure to sink their teeth into, making it the perfect introduction for those curious about Spiderweb Software’s catalog.
Queen’s Wish: The Conqueror was played on the PC, with a code provided by the developer.