Synopsis Quest Deluxe

By: Derek Yu

On: April 5th, 2010

Synopsis Quest Deluxe

Skipmore is a prolific Japanese game company that develops micro-games for mobile devices. They have a bunch of free browser-based projects on their website, but Synopsis Quest Deluxe is the first to be translated into English (thanks to Benito C.). The game consists of a series of micro-games and puzzles that poke fun at JRPG conventions. I thought it was pretty funny, and the clunky controls that are present in most of Skipmore’s titles are relatively bearable in SQD due to the tiny scope of the game.

(Source: Tim W., via

TIGdb: Entry for Synopsis Quest Deluxe

  • Hapiel

    Man, I was able to solve everything EXCEPT the last one -_-

  • Sean


    Remember what you read in “read the tablet in 10 seconds?”

    That’s all I’m saying.

  • Xion

    I couldn’t get out of the jail or find the sunken treasure

  • red

    Xion: try everything, it’s easy :D, but I also didn’t get the last one :(

  • Megan

    I can’t get out of the jail either… I know I must be missing something obvious.

  • Megan

    Aha! I have now completed all the quests! It’s a bit… anticlimactic.

  • StephenM3

    It’s more climactic if you do them in order; the ‘win screen’ isn’t anything particularly interesting. Was stuck on the sunken treasure and the jail breifly, but both are solvable easily with a ‘try everything’ attitude.

    This was great. Several of them were absolutely perfect, such as the ‘act like a hero’ quest.

  • krux

    the best is “act like a hero”

  • BC

    Thanks for the post, Derek!
    More translations coming in the near future.

    In the meantime I suggest trying out ‘Hairpin Runner’ – the controls are really tight and it’s a fun reflex game. Despite being designed for mobile phones, it relies on a one-click interface, so the responsiveness on PC is good.

    I’m hooked on it but can barely get past the initial levels because I always try to play it at night when my reflexes are dodgy…

  • BC

    Forgot the link:

    Click when Mr. Runner is one the X to make him turn, etc.

  • bateleur

    Very cool… although I can’t work out the second to last one at all.

  • cm

    I loved “act like a hero”.

    For the jail one, just think… how do you usually bust out of jail in rpgs?

  • zosh

    Wow, this is actually the first Skipmore game I found myself able to play for more than 30 seconds, and even get some kind of gratification from.

    There’s a very thin line between unforgiving and unplayable games. And Skipmore’s games, while balancing that line, always fell on the wrong side for me.

    I find it hard to imagine how anyone would be able to play “Hairpin Runner” on a mobile without throwing it across the room after a few minutes.

  • BC

    Quoting zosh: I find it hard to imagine how anyone would be able to play “Hairpin Runner” on a mobile without throwing it across the room after a few minutes.

    Are you referring to the difficulty?

  • BC

    Funnily enough, here’s a quote from the game description that I hadn’t noticed before: “A game that’ll make you want to throw your phone across the room.”

    Once you get into the rhythm it’s OK; I just cleared it. Nice and fun. I found myself laughing at my own stupidity when I misjudged the timing, not getting irritated, though.

  • Kenzya

    I did not enjoy this.

    The visuals and sounds were INCREDIBLY enticing but the main content S*CKS.

    I don’t have a game on hand to compare this to but I felt like I had already played this game. Although, I guess I could compare it to games like Karoshi. Puzzles are from that archetype. The creator tries to mislead the player and the player tries to figure out the creator’s dimly lit puzzles. While I would agree there are some clever puzzles (Act Like a Hero) there is always another throw away puzzle to counteract (Break the Curse).

    There also seems to only be three types of solutions in this game. There’s the obvious solution which is usually wrong. Of course, the creator throws in some straight forward solutions to try to trick up the player. Then we have the unorthodox solution. This is usually the solution the player comes to after they lose trying the obvious solution. If both of those fail there is the wait and see solution. Just wait around until the solution reveals itself to you.

    I know it’s just a small game with a handful of levels but I think this game is carried by its visual content, sound content, and subject matter rather than by the content.

  • someone

    Uh… that’s the point. It’s a parody of JRPGs. What were you expecting, Braid?

  • phubans

    That was great. The only one that gave me some trouble was the finding the sunken treasure one.

  • UltimateWalrus

    I wanted to play this, but the controls feel like I’m trying to nudge a tortoise through a maze. I’m not in direct control of the tortoise, mind you, he has a mind of his own. i’m just sorta trying to suggest a direction for him to go — sometimes he listens, sometimes not.

  • SirNiko

    I found the game to be relatively easy, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    The graphics and sounds were consistent throughout, which I liked. The puzzles were varied in presentation, art, and execution so you felt the pull of wanting to see what comes next without ever getting ‘stuck’ and hating the current level. Some puzzles (break the curse) weren’t as good as others (act like a hero) but they don’t manage to drag down the overall quality.

    The implied continuity between levels was a unique feature that made the game a few notches better.

    Overall excellent game! I’d love to see some other takes on this concept.


  • Bob

    It’s weird that people are rating it so critically…it’s really more parody than game. From what I’ve heard, the controls are supposedly also a parody of those found in MSX RPGs as well.

    Still, I liked it, and I gladly played it again for the translated story.

    And for the record, Mamono Slayer was translated before this, but the only one that really needed one was this.

  • shurcooL`
  • John Evans

    I liked it. It was like the Wario Ware team did an entire game based on Dragon Warrior.

  • J

    Arg…I got all of them EXCEPT the prison cell escape. Nice skewering of jRPG conventions, though, and even a little self-referential humor. I like it.

  • deadeye

    That was pretty entertaining for a few minutes :). The puzzles were definitely more cute and funny than challenging, but it’s not really about the puzzles so much as the point they’re trying to make. I managed to get all of them rather easily except for the last one, which I doubt I would have figured out if it weren’t for Sean’s hint.

  • Drazzke

    Yay, I beat all of them :D The sunken treasure one got me for a while, otherwise most of them weren’t very hard… Still, it was pretty fun.

  • PD

    It’s like Wario Ware and Half-Minute Hero had a baby.

  • celluloseman

    A nice little game and kept me giggling at intervals. Got all the puzzles without too much trouble by applying JRPG logic.

    Good work, Monseigneur Skipmore.

  • JoeHonkie

    That was a lot of fun. Really enjoyed it.

    His other games are mostly half-formed ideas with bad controls, though. I wasn’t impressed.

  • StephenM3

    The thing that kills Hairpin Runner for me is the restart time. When I make a mistake 2 seconds into the level, I don’t want to wait 5 seconds to try again. The downtime between tries is the breeding ground for frustration and resentment.

    For something that asks for razor-sharp reflexes from the player, it seems disingenuous to have such a slow reaction from the game. I have to watch the little runner’s head explode, fall down, spin around, come and come to a stop, then watch my current lives appear, drop by one, then disappear. Over. And over. Since I’m not very good at the game yet, it composes about half of my play time. And that’s not fun.

    Or maybe I’ve just been spoiled by VVVVVV.

  • Xion

    finally got out of prison. Still haven’t found the treasure. That’s the only one I haven’t gotten. I’m going to feel like an idiot when I finally get it, I know.

  • Dusty Spur

    Only one that gave me trouble was finding the sunken treasure, which I stumbled upon whilst traversing every tile of water in the hopes that it would reveal itself to me.

    I don’t get why everyone praises the Act Like a Hero bit so much either. It’s pretty much the first joke everyone makes about jRPGs, so it’s not like it’s some new thing.

  • cosmic cumshot

    i’d love to see an iphone app of this ^^ its the kinda small but fun game i’d buy and play over and over again

  • O_o

    I would have liked it except the controls didn’t seem to work even 40% for me. It was like watching the character move on its own, or not move at all while I’m trying to get it to go. Even using spacebar wasn’t getting much reaction during dialogue. Other than that, it was ok, and I even recognized some of the things it was parodying. Tower of the Sorcerer, yay (that’s the Prison puzzle, I think).

  • Marcus

    Correction: Skipmore is a company but it’s just one guy

  • Snorlax

    What’s remarkable about Skipmore’s games is how much they reveal about the graphic-whorishness of the indie game scenes. In all other respects (gameplay most markedly), the games are terrible. But chunky 8-bit throwback RPG graphics make people go crazy. The whole thing is a bit like the goth movement; not so much a rebellion against image-obsession and conformity as an alternative form of image-obsession and conformity. A certain strip of indie gamers mostly are satisfied with a certain type of graphics and gameplay (i.e., throwback to 90s Metroidvania/jRPG) in the same way that a certain stripe of mainstream gamers like polypushing shooters.

  • BC


    Good point, but here’s some background.

    All of these games are designed for mobile phones, which, unless you count weird smartphone devices, pretty much can only handle pixel art graphics.

    The fact that they were backported as flash games for the PC has nothing to do really with their original provenance.

    These types of games are popular in Japan because this is largely the most suitable format for the mobile platform — if you look at the vast majority of Skipmore’s games, located under the ‘mobile’ section of his site (, you’ll see that they are almost uniformly cell phone minigames/reflex games with simple (non-retro, non RPG, non 8-bit) graphics. The game I described above, Hairpin Runner, is currently pretty popular on cell phone / social network distribution.

    What you’re seeing in the form of these ‘free’ games for the PC is his side hobby, which consists of paying some lip service to RPGs which I guess he was weaned on, but I think the main direction of his work is in accessible mini-game fare for playing on the train. This spate of RPG-themed games is sort of unusual.

    For my money, those mini-games are a lot better and more compelling, but sadly they aren’t easily available.

    You’re right that people do go for these throwback things, so maybe it is indicative of larger patterns, but it’s a shame that we don’t get to see the full scope of his output, which doesn’t (I believe) pander to that.

  • O_o

    Ok, I gave it another try, and I actually do like it, even if the controls are still a bit stiff/unresponsive. I even finished it all this time. Last time I quit in disgust at the inability to actually control my hero, as it made certain “quests” almost impossible. If the “Hero” ran a bit faster, the controls were better, and this game were a bit longer, it’d be even more fun.

  • Hiro

    “…as it made certain “quests” almost impossible.” What quests are these? The only quest even approaching a reflex test was the fight against the demon, and that was really easy. A valid criticism of some of Skipmore’s other games, certainly, but this game doesn’t really have that.

  • someone

    The controls are “bad” because Skipmore specializes in designing mobile phone games.

    If you were playing this on a cell phone keypad, it wouldn’t feel “bad” at all.

  • someone

    More specifically, this game is designed for Japanese cell phones which actually come loaded with a Flash player.

  • deadeye

    I don’t see why people are complaining at all about the “controls.” It’s not like you need reflexes to complete this game. It’s not an RPG or an action game. It’s a puzzle game. Controls don’t really factor into any of the puzzles (except where they have been changed on purpose for that particular puzzle, like walking away from the king while he’s talking, or jumping over the fireball) so… yeah, what is there to complain about?

  • O_o

    If you can’t move, you can’t protect the princess. You can’t let anything touch her, so if you’re stuck running at the bottom of the screen, because your hero decides to run at the bottom of the screen instead of go up like you are commanding it to, then you’re fail. If you want to greet the hero, you can’t do that if you’re stuck in one place when you want to walk over. If it doesn’t respond to ANY commands, you can’t DO anything. If you want to examine things, even the first quest is fail.

  • Zaratus

    Well, if your controls are acting *that* bad, yeah, but it seemed fine to me. They’re a *little* clunky, but I had no problems with the controls on any of the events, and never lost one because of them. *shrug*

  • Adamsk

    Mamono Slayer and Fairun are both playable on that site, Mamono slayer even has an english language selection and both titles are just as fun, if not moreso than Synopsis Quest.

    Mamono Slayer is an MSX dungeon crawl in the same vein as La Mulana, though less focused on exploration and more on the puzzle solving.

    Fairun reminded me a lot of Hydlide, though there’s no levelling and, like Mamono Slayer, it’s focus is solving the item puzzles to complete the game.

    Both titles had places that stumped me for a couple of minutes, usually before realizing that either I could access a new area, or part of an area, that I hadn’t noticed, or realized before.

  • StephenM3

    If you play Fairune, be prepared for fake walls — luckily, on the occasions they occur they are very slightly different from the real walls, but you have to be looking for them to notice. That had me stumpted and frustrated for a while. But on the whole Fairune is a pretty good game.

  • someone

    The controls aren’t bad. You can fix them if they bother you that much.

    The problem is that computer keyboards have a slower key repeat interval than cell phone keypads (which Skipmore designs games for).

    If you increase the key repeat interval settings of your keyboard, you can play this game fluidly.

  • Adamsk

    > StephenM3

    After encountering fake walls in both Synopsis Quest and Mamono Slayer (if you’ve played them) why are the fake walls in Fairune any worse?

    I’m sure you’re specifically talking about one fake wall that had me stumped for quite some time, but it’s no worse than you find in the other games.

  • Arucard

    Nice, I’m finally able to play the rest of these games. Though the English doesn’t really change all that much.

  • Laura

    I’m sure someone already mentioned this, but it would be nice to see an iPhone version… it would be fun and easy to play in short increments :P