Pure Xbox's Craig Reid recently attended Summer Game Fest in Los Angeles, where he had a chance to preview a series of upcoming Xbox releases. Today, we're sharing his thoughts on a hands-on demo of The Plucky Squire, where he sat down with All Possible Futures' co-founder James Turner to play a portion of the game's sixth chapter.

Every so often, a game is announced that really speaks to us. The Plucky Squire was one of those. It had been seven hundred and thirty days - two whole years - since it was first revealed at 2022’s Devolver Direct (y’know… not that we were counting), so obviously we were delighted to sit down with All Possible Futures’ co-founder James Turner at Devolver’s epic SGF Play Days booth and get hands-on with the game.

The Plucky Squire is an adventure game, introduced to us as a children’s book. For a little under an hour, and with our charming new companion James Turner by our side, we explored the delights packed into a section of Chapter Six. Our preview began with The Plucky Squire, Jot, and their companion Thrash in 2D form attempting to scale the moustache-adorned Trargg Mountain. Their mission: end the bother caused by the book’s evil antagonist Humgrump, who had grown so fed up of losing to Jot that they kicked him out his own story - and into the real world!

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Image: Devolver Digital, All Possible Futures

After a few initial in-game steps, we were faced with a far-stretching chasm too large for our plucky heroes to cross. It was here that our narrative could have ended if this adventure was confined to paper. Thankfully, Jot is able to survive outside the confines of his flat-as-a-pancake world and journey into our reality. It was this concept that initially piqued our interest back in 2022, and experiencing it first-hand was very satisfying indeed.

We’d be remiss to not mention that The Plucky Squire clearly draws inspiration from the Legend of Zelda franchise, namely ‘Zelda: A Link Between Worlds’ in which Link was able to slip his way into walls and paintings. Having played through a number of Link’s adventures ourselves, The Plucky Squire’s gameplay felt familiar, natural and transferable.

If you’ve ever played any 3D platforming game, you’ll find the traversal and combat pretty straightforward. The aptly named Jot’s sword is shaped like a quill, and swinging it around in the name of artistic expression is both simple and fun. As we started our demo in Chapter Six, Jot felt like an experienced swordfighter already. We could execute a 360 spin attack, ground slam, and a rather satisfying “boomerang” toss attack. These were readily available in both the 2D and 3D sections of the game.

Right off the bat it was clear that All Possible Futures wanted The Plucky Squire to be enjoyed by the whole family, regardless of skill or ability. This is reflected in the game’s difficulty options: ‘Adventure Mode’ for the bold and brash heroes and ‘Story Mode’ for the unsung heroes who fancy an easier ride. ‘Story Mode’ tweaks damage sliders in your favour and offers you the ability to skip trickier sections of the game. We were also aided by one of The Plucky Squire’s coolest characters - Moonbeard - who was on hand to dish out hints or direct us if needed. We actually didn’t need Moonbeard’s help for most of our session, but having him there was comforting all the same. Plus his beard was cool.

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Image: Devolver Digital, All Possible Futures

Jot’s 3D adventure takes place in a child’s messy bedroom. In the demo, we traversed a cluttered desk, guided by towering books, mugs and trinkets. On our journey, we noted a book titled ‘Machines of Mayhem’ which seemed to be missing its cover model. According to James, this is because Humgrump enlisted a bunch of big, scary machines to unleash pandemonium in The Plucky Squire and disrupt Jot’s quest: to restore creativity.

Anyway, just as quickly as we were able to jump from Jot’s 2D origins to this new 3D world, we were pulled back into the storybook. The page turned, revealing a land filled with glam rock bunnies and “sign of the horn” shaped topiary. This quick shift between realities should feel jarring and obstructive, but as The Plucky Squire is all about the dissonance between creativity and anti-creativity, flipping between “reality” and a heavy metal-inspired environment in which we swat mini baphomet rams felt like the perfect parallel.

Remember those missing Machines of Mayhem? Well, as we were making headway through the mountains of Trargg our progress was halted by a gnarly chainsaw gate. To progress, Jot had to leap from the page and onto the desk using one of the game’s glowing transition symbols and scour reality for a special item capable of disrupting the pesky machine.

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Image: Devolver Digital, All Possible Futures

Our time with the demo, and Jot, came to a close once we’d helped an adorable “Baby Rocket” collect pieces of “Daddy Rocket” (aww?) which were hidden on the messy desk. Once we’d completed this quest, we were awarded with a stamp - the special item needed to progress the narrative back in the storybook.

We entered The Plucky Squire’s Play Days booth with high hopes and big expectations. For 45 minutes we were giggling, smiling, and asking James all sorts of questions like “will we ever see the kid who owns the book?” and although he said no, James did say:

“In the future the boy (who owns the book) is going to become a famous author by his own rights because he's so inspired by the Plucky Squire. But if Humgrump, the bad wizard, takes over the book, then it will become a much more boring book. He will lose his inspiration and it might change his future path…So there's a story outside of the book that you don't see directly.”

There’s a lesson in there for us all, don’t you think?

Whilst we might not have a release date for The Plucky Squire on Xbox Series X|S outside of “2024”, we here at Pure Xbox had a lot of fun and are biting at the bit for our next go on All Possible Futures’ enchanting adventure.

Looking forward to The Plucky Squire on Xbox? Let us know in the comments.