Friday, July 1, 2016

Knight Squad Review (XONE)

Remember the classic dungeon crawling game Gauntlet from back in the day?  Well, what if that game turned into a multiplayer battle arena?  That is basically what Knight Squad is – a top-down multiplayer arena duel between different colored knights.  And it is surprisingly addictive and awesome.  It is surprisingly fully-featured, too.  See our full review for more.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Chainsawesome Games
  • Developer: Chainsawesome Games
  • ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen
  • Genre: Multiplayer Action
  • Pros: Tons of modes; simple and fun gameplay; awesome multiplayer; bots!
  • Cons: Only so-so solo
  • MSRP: $15

Knight Squad is top-down multiplayer battle arena game where you play as knights.  That’s it.  That’s the story.  It isn’t just deathmatch, though, as there are a number of other modes including capture the flag, juggernaut, domination, and more.  The game is played 4v4, but if you don’t have 8 human players the game also has bots.  I gotta say, I love bots, and I especially love actually being able to play a game like this even when other people aren’t around.  The A.I. bots are also surprisingly skilled, which make them a decent challenge.  They aren’t as fun or funny as playing with human players, of course, but I love having the option, at least.  You can also play online, but there’s no guarantee the player base will be there, which is another reason I’m grateful to have bots.

Gameplay is dead simple in Knight Squad.  You move around with the left stick and attack with a button press.  You start with just a simple sword – you are a knight, after all – but can pick up powerups that give you new weapons like a longer sword, laser gun, boomerang, horse, extra speed, extra shields, and more.  The game is generally one-hit kills, so expect to die a lot, but that is where a lot of the fun comes in.  It is really fast and frantic and crazy.  The various modes also add a ton of variety to the game.  The general gameplay of kill or be killed doesn’t change much, but adding in objectives in between all the knight slaying really makes the different game types uniquely fun.

There is a separate single-player mode in addition to just adding bots to the normal modes, but it isn’t very good.  You face other enemy types in these challenges like skeletons, trolls, dragons, and there are even boss fights, but the gameplay kind of sucks.  In multiplayer everyone is equal ability-wise, but in the single-player the enemies are much faster than your character, which makes it an absolute drag to play.  It just isn’t fun.  Good thing the multiplayer modes are so good then, right?

The presentation is simple, but well executed.  The top-down view means the arenas you fight in aren’t exactly detailed, but they do look good and are distinct.  The game also does a good job of making things easy to see as the characters are always brightly colored and really stand out.  I also like how the knights aren’t just color palate swaps and do have some distinct looks between them.

All in all, Knight Squad is a great party game that is a ton of fun and has a surprising amount of variety.  It was originally a free Games With Gold title, but unlike a similar GWG party game in #IDARB, it also has bots to ensure the game is fun even if you don’t have a room full of people to play with.  Having bots as well as the wealth of different modes to play make it much easier to recommend at the full $15 price tag.  It definitely shines brightest in multiplayer, though, so if you have friends to play with it is well worth a look as a fun party game.