Publisher Curve Digital and developer Iron Oak Games have a new game for fans of tabletop RPG/strategy games. For The King, available now on all major platforms, mixes turn based combat, strategy, and roguelike gameplay elements together and sets you in the procedural world of Fahrul. This game was fun playing alone but the option to team up with two friends along the way made for an even better experience.
Upon starting the game I was presented with the option to pick from one of six different campaigns. I went with the “For The King” campaign first and then proceeded to assemble my three person squad. I played the game controlling the three party members by myself to start but the option is there to have two other people play with you locally or online. As of now I haven’t found the online community to be quite large but I was able to get into a few matches with some other people in other sessions I played. The game offers some nice options to tune the difficulty to your liking as well. Apprentice difficulty gives you more lives at the start of your game, gives enemies smaller health pools, and gives you some bonus items as well. Should you want to ratchet up the challenge from the start you can do that too and you’ll be more handsomely rewarded for playing on higher difficulties.
When making your party the game starts you off with four different classes but you can unlock up to 11 in total as you play. I put my starting team together and off I went to take on the first campaign. This one had me helping the queen after the king was so rudely murdered. Other campaigns will take you to the high seas, frozen tundras, endless dungeons and so on. There is a lot of content in For The King so if you enjoy this style of game you’ll definitely get your moneys worth. The gameplay itself unfolds on hexagonal spaced maps. It actually reminded me a lot of another indie game called Armello so if you’re familiar with that title then picture that. Navigating things on screen whether it be the map or your inventory can be a bit cumbersome though as the UI in this game was clearly built with PC in mind. I wish more would’ve been done to make it a bit more controller friendly but I got used to how it felt as I played.
Across the map are enemies, people, towns and more all for you to interact with as you move your squad about by rolling the dice. This game always forces you to really think about how you want to move about as you never know what you may roll the next turn. Luckily should you find you need a certain roll when your turn comes around again you can use a mechanic in the game called Focus. Focus allows you to give yourself an exact roll of the dice. As with any game changing ability like this though you are limited to how many times you can use it so think wisely. In order to gain your Focus back you’ll have to meditate or visit places like inns and camps. Combat involves taking turns with your enemy attacking back and forth but just like your movement you really need to think about whether you should engage in combat at certain times. You may find it in your party’s best interest to sneak on by an enemy instead. Enemies can be ambushed but so can you should you place your group in a bad spot. For The King is very much a thinking mans game through and through, at least if you want to be successful in it.
As you traverse the maps you’ll have another matter to keep your eye on and that is the Chaos mechanic. Chaos is a metric that rises as the game unfolds and basically makes the game harder than it already is. The higher it rises the stronger your enemies on the map become and new, more powerful enemies will also appear. You have to manage it by completing quests so that you can ultimately be successful in your campaign. You can also unlock the other characters by finding lore as you play and they can give you more of an edge. All characters can also be improved by earning new weapons and armor to equip them with. Items such as potions and other concoctions can give your party a boost to their stats which will further help you in your battles.
The visuals in the game are quite pleasing as you can tell from the screenshots here. They aren’t realistic but rather a more stylized polygonal look to it. The soundtrack isn’t anything special I would say but it fits the fantasy world For The King is set in. If you are interested in the trophy list then know you will have to put a lot of work in to earn this Platinum trophy. There are a whopping 57 trophies in total that will have you defeating all kinds of enemies, gathering a certain amount of gold, using so many items and so forth. I don’t think it’s the hardest list out there but you’ll have to put a lot of time in to earn them all especially with the RNG in this game.
For The King was clearly built for fans of tabletop RPG’s out there such as Dungeons & Dragons. Some people may get frustrated with how everything is left up to the chance of a dice roll in this game and that is understandable especially given how your party is done once they die. That is the type of style that the games that For The King is based on use though so you have to go into this knowing that. What really makes this game much more enjoyable though is playing it with friends locally or online so if you’re looking for something new to sit down with a group and play then maybe give For The King a shot.
*For The King is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
For The King$24.99
- The Tabletop Gameplay Feel is Well Done
- With Six Different Campaigns and Eleven Classes to Use There is a Lot of Content Here
- Being Able to Have Up to Three Players Either Locally or Online Makes it More Enjoyable
- Charming Art Style
- Can be Frustrating to Lose Due to Bad Random Rolls
- UI Could be Better on Console