January 10th, 2012 | By Simon Jones
These days, it seems that games are becoming more and more streamlined to fit into a particular genre. Developers tend to play it safer than they have previously, using caution to simply release games that have been done countless times before. King Arthur’s Gold is no such title. This 2D multiplayer war game combines all the best bits of your favorites.
The basic premise of King Arthur’s Gold sounds complicated at first. It’s a 2D side-scrolling action multiplayer war game. A mouthful, yes, but all those terms mean a more enriching gameplay experience for the user. The game has a few different variations, and newcomers may want to attend to the building tutorial before jumping straight into the action.
After learning the ins and outs of mining for resources and general building tasks, you can enjoy either Sandbox or Swordfight modes. Both offer completely different gaming experiences, with the former being heavily favored towards building while the latter incorporates a team-vs-team battle mode into the equation.
Despite the option to go solo, King Arthur’s Gold isn’t meant to be played alone. The game relies on its multiplayer features which allow Knights, Archers and Builders to battle for land in a team-based environment. In addition to mining for resources, players can choose to attack, defend or a combination of the two if the tide turns your way.
You won’t be chopping wood and building ladders for long as King Arthur’s Gold insists that you construct and defend your castles and weaponry if you are to succeed. There really isn’t a better feeling than being the player who finally destroys the last block on an opponent’s castle. In many ways, the game borrows elements from Team Fortress 2 and Terraria, but it manages to mix things up in an entirely new way so that beginners and experts can find their own place in the world.
It takes a bit of getting used to but once you understand how to co-operate with your teammates King Arthur’s Gold becomes an enjoyable multiplayer romp, the likes of which you have never played before. With potentially 64+ player games, as well as multiple game types and even new challenges on the cards for future updates, this title offers an incredible amount to users for the magical price of nothing.
The look and feel of King Arthur’s Gold hearkens back the days of early Mario and Megaman. The cute visuals juxtapose nicely with the battle elements and, like the aforementioned Team Fortress 2, it is these visuals which allow players to enjoy a sprinkling of levity in what can undoubtedly become an intense multiplayer experience.
Sound, on the other hand, is almost nonexistent, and I’d like to put that down to the game still being in a relatively early stage of development. Early enough at least that the devs will have time to score some original background music. In its current form, King Arthur’s Gold only boasts a few generic sound effects for mining, building, fighting, etc. Of course this allows one to create their own iTunes soundtrack in the background, but it would be nice to enjoy some music of the period in future updates.
Aside from a lack of any real soundtrack, the only other gripe I have with King Arthur’s Gold is the initial loading time. Once inside, loading up a solo game and even jumping into a quick multiplayer match is incredibly quick – made possible in at least some part by the developer’s choice of visuals. However, when first starting the game players will often be condemned to a lengthy loading screen that seems to belie the true simplicity of the game.
For a title that is still in its alpha phase – and subject to regular updates by a team of developers that undoubtedly love this game – it is incredible to think that King Arthur’s Gold is still free. Sure, you can help the makers out and preorder a copy of the full version (USD$9.99), which I must admit includes some pretty sweet features including zombies, you owe it to yourself to at least give the game ten minutes of your life. If you are like me, you will be playing it for months to come.
You can download King Arthur’s Gold for Windows, Mac and Linux for free at the official website.