As you may already have gathered For The King is very difficult. And because a lot of that difficulty comes from relying on random roles of the dice it can be very frustrating. Developer IronOak do throw you a bone though, via the option to use ‘Focus’. This allows you to guarantee a certain dice roll if you really need it, although as you can imagine that’s not something you get to use often.
The only other aid you get from the game is unlocking new characters, weapons, and events that will then appear in your next go, after you die. The biggest help though is simply playing in co-op with another player, which is of course one element of tabletop role-playing that video games almost always leave out. Which is strange, because the few games that do include it always benefit enormously from the fact.
For The King is not an easy game to get into, or indeed to play, but like any good roguelike it becomes hugely addictive once you learn its systems. The only real problem, other than the slightly underwhelming combat, is that there are still quite a few bugs and glitches in the game – including full-on crash bugs on the Switch. It also takes an eternity to procedurally generate each map.
The controls aren’t great either and it’s obvious the game was designed with a mouse and keyboard in mind. The game does its best, and if you coped with something like Darkest Dungeon this is no worse, but we don’t understand why they didn’t try and make use of the Switch’s touchscreen.
None of that is enough to justify lowering the game’s score from the PC though and this is still a thoroughly engrossing and charmingly presented role-player, that shows that video games still have a thing or two to learn from their physical counterparts.
For The King
In Short: One of the most enjoyable roguelikes of recent years, with the heavy emphasis on RNG saved by some fun co-op options.
Pros: Lots of content and plenty to explore and unlock across six campaigns. Surprisingly tense and with some neat modern twists to the formula. Great music and attractive, low-tech graphics.
Cons: The combat is a little too similar to old school Japanese and computer role-players. Random element will frustrate everyone at some point. A few nasty bugs and glitches.
Formats: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC
Publisher: Curve Digital
Release Date: 9th May 2019
Age Rating: 12
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