Killer Queen Black, the home version of the arcade cult hit Killer Queen, is finally out and goddamn what a blast. It’s perfectly at home on the Nintendo Switch due to its simplistic controls and the joy con’s ease of accommodating many players. While I haven’t had the opportunity yet to play with a group of friends (I will soon on an upcoming trip!) it’s easy to see at home play with friends mimicking the same feeling you get at the arcade.
If you haven’t played Killer Queen before it’s kind of hard to describe. It’s a wholly unique competitive strategy game. The layers of strategy more easily digestible outside of the arcade due to the inclusion of a tutorial that covers every aspect of the game. Spend time with this tutorial at home to fully grasp how it works. The closest game I can think of in terms of oddness and strategy is some of the World of Warcraft PvP games (known as Battlegrounds) that have come out over the years. There are multiple paths to victory, many things going on at once, yet the game elegantly balances all of this. You can kill the enemy queen, ride a snail to victory, or collect resources, each victory type having multiple potential strategies involved. It encapsulates the phrase used on all the best strategy games - easy to understand, difficult to master.
I’ve been enjoying playing it at home solo online - of course, playing online means people are gonna be jerks so turn off that voice chat ASAP. It can be a stark reminder that at a bar with drunk strangers people still manage to be nice but online it seems virtually impossible to play a few online matches of any game without hearing some hatespeech or childish cruelty. Regardless, with voice chat turned off it’s still a lot of fun. There’s something about the core design of Killer Queen that ends almost every match winning by a tiny margin - something that always feels better than getting totally steamrolled or doing the steamrolling.
Whether you’re a more passive player who just wants to collect resources or slow down the other team, you’re aggressive and want to kill enemy players, or you want to be the leader there’s a place for you in the game. The price of $19.99 only makes it all the more worth it. If you’re unsure of whether or not you’d like the game - go see if a local arcade has it! It’s true that it loses some of the basic social pleasure of the arcade, but the structural brilliance and joy of the game is still there. Even at home, while you sacrifice yourself over and over into the mouth of the enemy snail hoping its chewing maw will slow it enough to allow your team to claim victory, it’s still a ton of fun.