King’s Quest Chapter 3: Once Upon a Climb – Review
Follow Genre: episodic puzzle adventure game
Developer: The Odd Gentlemen
Publisher: Sierra
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

King’s Quest Chapter 3: Once Upon a Climb – Review

Site Score
Good: writing, soundtrack, characters, basically nearly everything
Bad: random shaky scenery
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

The first two chapters of the new King’s Quest series cleverly managed to rekindle our thirst for clever puzzles and amazingly funny -yet surprisingly thrilling- fairy tales. Though the second chapter felt like a low note for the title, the newest entry – Once Upon a Climb – is finally aiming big again. This time our favourite royal adventurer is off on his most important quest yet: the search for his one true love.

Kings Quest Once Upon A Climb Title


Life can be pretty lonely for a king. Especially when your friends are too busy to come over and your staff isn’t allowed to join you for dinner due to some obscure addendum. Being alone in some castle isn’t something Graham is able to stomach much longer. Quickly the monarch sets out on an epic search for his future wife: Vanalice of Kolyma.

Of course the woman of his life has to be locked up in a tall tower. The road winding up is perilous, but danger has never stopped Graham before. It doesn’t take long before the adventurer reaches the top. Finally he’ll see the love of his life and be able to return a duo instead of an uno. Except that there are two princesses being held captive: the thoughtful and wise Vee, and the kind and artistic Neese.

Kings Quest Once Upon a Climb 1

The beginning of this story is loosely based on the second instalment of the original King’s Quest series. While the original focussed more on the road leading to the princess, this re-imagining is all about what happens after. This time Graham becomes trapped with the princesses and has to not only puzzle his way into the heart of one of the ladies, but also find a way to break the curse that is keeping them all in.

Characters, including the villains, are brought in an endearing, multi faceted way, making it easy to get invested in the struggles of the tower captives. The way the game has you pick between two very different girls that just happen to have the same full name and title is done so masterfully, the whole question about ‘who’s the one’ never actually feel forced. Furthermore, Once Upon a Climb brings back the excessive (but fun) punning, making the chapter feel a lot more than the hit that is A Knight to Remember. In other words, this chapter to Graham’s adventures has some of the strongest writing in the series to date and we’d definitely like to see it continued.

Kings Quest Chapter 3: Once Upon a Climb

Of course nothing is perfect and yes, even Once Upon a Climb has a couple of scenes that raise some questions. For us, these were the consequences from last story you end up encountering. It’s a given that every new chapter addresses certain choices you’ve made in the past. However, as this one takes place maybe a decade after Rubble Without a Cause, having people you didn’t manage to save from starvation still be cranky at Graham for that just feels a little excessive.


Again, the graphics for the chapter stay in line with what has already been established. As expected, the locations look exquisite and, much like the first chapter, bring a great array of colour and atmosphere. The greatest change however comes in the guise of King Graham himself, who’s grown into one major chunk of a hunk. His newly found muscle mass translates perfectly in the way his newest model moves around. It’s time to say goodbye to the endearing way younger Graham hopped around the screen with a little slouch and offer a warm welcome to much more sturdy gestures. To be completely honest, it did take us some time to get fully accustomed to the King’s hot transformation and we did miss the gawky youngling’s fumbling from time to time.

Kings Quest Once Upon a Climb 5

The cut scenes are again of very high quality. Certain scenes even feel as if they wouldn’t be misplaced in an animated epic. However, one unfortunate aspect of Once Upon a Climb is that the shaky imagery, which we first noticed in the previous title, has returned. These frame drops or dodgy focus never take long, but they do weigh heavy on the eyes when playing on a big screen.


In terms of audio, the soundtrack itself is amazing. Where Rubble Without a Cause seemed to lack a good and pleasurable melodic guide, Once Upon a Climb has plenty. Combined with the voice acting, which again is of stellar quality, this chapter truly managed to radiate those fairy tale vibes.

Kings Quest Once Upon a Climb 4


Once Upon a Climb is the third chapter of the episodic puzzle adventure game King’s Quest. It’s bare gameplay elements are, as is to be expected, identical to that of the previous instalments. Again the WASD-keys help you to move Graham around while Tab allows you to look into your inventory. The game starts with a small near-tutorial-like puzzle that has you travel across time to rescue a little owl that looks a lot like Cedric, a character found in the original title. This fun concept allows players to get accustomed to the general gameplay once more while giving a nice overview of how Graham has changed over the years.

Puzzles in Once Upon a Climb are of a similar difficulty of the previous episode, yet aren’t the focus of episode. More than not, you’ll be looking into the personalities of your potential girlfriends rather than cooking up elaborate schemes. While trying to figure out who’d best compliment your own Graham, the game offers plenty of ways to help you steer it into the direction of your choice. Direct interactions or remembering certain details can trigger the tiniest flag towards either one of the girls. In the end however, the romance that actually blooms might still surprise you.

King's Quest Once upon a climb 6


King’s Quest Chapter 3: Once Upon a Climb is an absolute gem. It’s amazing writing managed to bring a story as old as time itself in a fun and contemporary way. Meanwhile the soundtrack action scenes bring out a certain epicness we haven’t seen in the series before. Yes, the puzzle aspect seems to have been downplayed a little this time, but the title definitely manages to bring back the previously unrivalled funfactor of ‘A Knight to Remember’. It’s clear this episodic puzzle game isn’t about to lose it’s charm soon.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
King’s Quest Chapter 3: Once Upon a Climb – Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.