It’s that time of the month again when Xbox Live Gold members get to dip into the Xbox vault for some freebies. One of those freebies is a top-down arena based combat game which is described by the developer as Bomberman meets Gauntlet. Our Knight Squad review looks at another PC port making it’s way to the Xbox One.
Being a multiplayer game, there’s no story so as you see we’ve skipped that section of the review altogether. As mentioned above, Knight Squad has been described by Chainsawesome Games as “Bomberman meets Gauntlet,” and I must say it certainly lives up to that description.
In Knight Squad, you choose from one of 11 knights of various colours to control, eight are available in the game and another three – Sparkles, Shiny, and Smoke – are available in the DLC pack Knight Squad: Extra Chivalrous which also contains four extra game modes (more on that in a bit). The eight knights you can choose from include Shooter, Skills, Selfie, Saviour, Solo, Shockwave, Storm, and Smash. While each has a different color to more easily recognize during gameplay, each also has a fun character animation which is only seen before or after a match.
You’ll most likely spend most of your time in the Local or Online Game areas. Both allow up to 8 player multiplayer action. Simply log in with a controller and any remaining slots will be filled with bots or other online players. If you so desire, you can even play locally with 7 bots, but it’s definitely more fun with friends.
There are 12 different game modes total, with 8 available in the base game and 4 more available in the DLC pack mentioned above. You can set the game to easy, medium, hard, or extreme difficulty settings and can also set the match length timer and pick the specific map to play for that mode. The different modes include:
- Capture the Flag: In this 4v4 mode, the goal is to steal the opposing team’s flag and bring it back to your beacon. You know, CTF.
- Soccer: Another 4v4 mode, and well, soccer basically. Use your Knight to push a big boulder into the opposing team’s net and score a goal.
- Gladiator: The first free-for-all (FFA) mode pits every Knight for themselves. Kills count but staying in the middle ring is more valuable – gain points for kills, but also gain points for staying in the ring.
- Last Man Standing: Another FFA mode. Your typical last man standing match – be the last one alive to win the round, first to X number of matches won wins.
- Team Deathmatch: The 4v4 mode that arguably started off multiplayer team gameplay has your team tasked with defeating as many opponents as possible to win.
- Juggernaut: More FFA – become the juggernaut by capturing the minigun, kill whoever has it to get the gun and wreak havoc on everyone else.
- Domination: Another 4v4 match in which you take control of beacons to earn points.
- Crystal Rush: The last of the base game 4v4 modes. Protect your team’s crystals while drilling through your opponents by getting the drill weapon and then chipping away at your opponents crystals
- Jail Break (DLC): A 4v4 which sees dead allies jailed. Rescue them or lose the round.
- Arms race (DLC): Another FFA mode. As you kill other Knights, you’ll cycle through all the weapons available in the game. The first to cycle through all of them wins.
- Serial Killer (DLC): A different take on the FFA game mode has you destroying other Knights in the order indicated on your spawning point.
- Soul Hunter (DLC): The final mode, another FFA one has you retrieving the souls of other knights and bringing them back to your spawning point in order to score.
- and random. In this mode, the game will throw you into a random mode with a random level!
All modes have their own appeal, and there wasn’t any one mode I didn’t like. There’s certainly enough variety in both game modes and levels to keep you going for quite some time.
There are also Challenges to keep you busy, with everything from being equipped with only a lightning rod to fighting worms, trolls, dragons, and dark knights.
And if you’re REALLY bored, there’s the Bots Showdown area, which like Local mode you can set to easy, medium, hard, or extreme, sit back, and just watch bots fight each other. Apparently there were requests for this feature so the developer added it to the game. I suppose it’d make for some good Bot betting rings or even a drinking game with friends.
As for the actual gameplay, it’s quite simple. In each of the various modes, you’re tossed into a top down view map and you control your Knight of choice and attack. Along the way you pick up power ups that give you better or different weapons from arrows to boomerangs and even miniguns, as well as boosts like speed boosts or a horse to ride around on. It’s simple, but it works and makes for some great fun.
The character graphics during the character selection and menu screens are fantastic and give a fun feel to the game. In game, you’ll definitely get that Gauntlet vibe, but it works great with this set of game modes and gameplay style.
The sound effects in the game are pretty bang on for the style, and the background music fits the game modes without being overbearing. The announcer has a pretty deep bass heavy voice as well and a couple of times he reminded me of the “m-m-m-m-m-monster kill” voice from my Quake days. Definitely a nice addition and adds a punch to the game.
I pretty much covered the multiplayer aspect under the gameplay section above, as it is a multiplayer game pure and simple. That being said, I didn’t have any issues when playing locally with others or the couple of times I ventured online.
There’s no reason not to pick up Knight Squad, especially considering that it is currently one of the free Xbox Live Games with Gold for the duration of November and the first half of December. Even the full price of $19.99USD is a fair price given the number of modes and hours of fun you can have playing it. If you do pick it up for free, you should definitely pick up the Knight Squad: Extra Chivalrous pack as well. At $4.99 it’s a small amount to pay to support the dev for a great game they’re offering up for free for the next month.
*We were sent a review copy of Knight Squad and Knight Squad: Extra Chivalrous for the purposes of this review.
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