first introduction to For The King was while looking for a
cooperative RPG for my friends and I to play together. Surprisingly
enough, there weren’t as many options in our price range as I would
have expected. So when we saw it sporting an incredibly modest price
tag of $14.99 as well as having online cooperative play, it was an
easy sell for our little group.
Right from the jump, the game warns you that not only is it in early access, but you will not succeed on your adventure. Foreboding, but as we would come to find out, painfully accurate. Ignoring all warnings the game threw at me, especially the one that said not to jump right into cooperative play, I set up an online match in the barren server browser and invited two of my friends to play. You only start with 4 of the available classes unlocked, so we weren’t exactly spoiled by choice, but we were eager to throw ourselves into the fray.
selected our classes, changed our character names, and utilized the
very basic customization options, which are just color swaps, and
dove in. We were greeted with a stylish world map made up of
hexagonal tiles filled with towns, structures and enemies. A dialog
box popped up and told us that our quest was to go to another town,
and get a quest from there. It also indicated that there was a time
limit to accomplish these tasks that would tick down after every turn
the party took.
movement, to combat, ambushes and opening doors, everything is
determined by a dice roll. These dice rolls are based on your
character’s traits and skills, but can also be modified by finding
various structures in the wild as well as items you collect. You
also have something called, focus, which is a resource you regain
when you rest that can heighten the chances of a successful dice
roll. Or, they can make you feel like 97% is a really good chance
for an attack, only to realize that you still failed it and missed
your enemy anyway. That was a fun experience. What I’m saying is,
in For The King you need to do everything possible to make your
character stronger or else you will die. A lot.
however, isn’t a simple “Game Over”, but rather a chance for
the developers at Iron Oak Games to really rub your failure in your
face. You have five chances to fail, whether it be death or an
objective or a really unlucky dice roll. Every failure results in
something called “Chaos” increasing. Every time that Chaos
rises, a new challenge gets thrown your way. A first it’s things
like certain tiles will poison you or just do damage to you as you
pass through them. Fail enough times and you’ll lose the ability
to revive downed teammates or all of your rolls will most likely
never be perfect again. This is really handy when you face off
against enemies who dodge everything that isn’t a perfect roll.
are mild frustrations however, and I know that For The King is
currently in active development, which is reassuring because there
are some rough edges here. The interface is a little clunky and
isn’t streamlined in a cohesive way. Exiting inventory and
character menus operate differently than interacting with the menu at
a town for instance. I wasn’t able to find a good way to compare
an equipped weapon to an unequipped one aside from just unequipping
them both. Status ailments are unclear in their effects and duration
leaving you wondering if it’s worth using an item to cure it or
not. There are a ton of these little grievances I have with the
state the game is currently in that I’m sure are being worked on at
And working on it they most definitely are. In the latest update to For The King, Iron Oak Games addressed some of my biggest grievances with online functionality. Specifically fixing issues with a lack of clarity on how to continue games in progress, as well as being able to manage your inventory when it wasn’t your turn.
Entering early access in the same week as blockbuster titles like Zelda and Horizon Zero Dawn may have not done For The King any favors, but if you’ve got some time and are in the market for something new, I absolutely recommend checking it out.