For The King (Review)

If you like Board Games, RPGs or Strategy games, then For The King should have you covered, although I do have one major issue to talk about. Please read on to find out more, in my review of For The King on the Nintendo Switch.

Lets get the target audience question sorted out pretty quickly. If you are looking for a board game like experience on your Switch, then For The King definitely leans more that way. Many times during my plays I was taken back to the table top games I love so dear. If you have played something like Mage Knight, then you should be really satisfied here. The RPG and turn based combat parts of the game could have been lifted from a tabletop game too and more so than something like Armello, For The King doesn’t lean on too many video game crutches – so much so, I could very much see how well it would play as a physical board game.

Watch the video version of this review.

The main campaign kicks off with the news of King Bronners death and the Queen tasks the citizens of Fahrul to search the land for his killer and the source of chaos that envelops the land. 

Each play of a campaign – of which there are 5 to choose from – will see the same main quest story presented to you but the layout of the land will be randomised, with towns, locations and enemies procedurally generated with each new adventure. 

Regardless of the campaign, you will always take control of 3 adventurers, either alone or with up to 2 other buddies locally or online, which is an awesome feature for a game like this and again feeds into that board game feel and encourages you to work as a team to solve the game, though you are each free to wander off on your own should you desire. More on the multiplayer later.

Face off against a variety of enemies

After creating your characters from a small selection of initial classes and customisation options, you take to the board. Pretty much everything in the game is driven by dice rolls, and this is represented by chance slots on your character sheet. For example, each character has a movement stat indicating how many hexes they could move every turn. If this stat is a 5, then 5 chance slots will be shown on screen and for each slot a die is rolled and either a success or failure is marked in the slot. If you roll 3 successes and 2 failures, then you will be allowed to move up to 3 spaces for that turn.

This mechanic carries on through most elements of the game, from movement to combat and casting spells to sneaking past enemies. This is usually all tucked away behind the scenes in most games like some sort of dirty secret, but For The King brings it out front and centre for everyone to stare at. Every decision has you on the edge of your seat. You can mitigate some of the randomness by spending limited focus points to fill in successes on the chance slots, which is another interesting choice the player has to make.

The map is vibrant and colourful, the ability to build boats and cross the seas is nice

As you move around the land, the map slowly unveils itself from under a fog, revealing forests, mines and statues to worship. Enemies for the most part are also visible on the map but you can also stumble across them when you pass through a hex they were hidden in, along with other treasures and points of interest.

Visiting towns will allow you to rest and restock supplies as well as take on side quests from local townsfolk to lazy to do them themselves. Remember that major issue I mentioned above, well it revolves around these quests and side quests. There is no way to easily see where you need to go to complete them. Pressing B will cycle through the open quests and zoom the camera to the location on the map, but in doing so means you now cant see your parties location, which makes it super annoying to work out where you need to be sending your characters.

This could have been resolved with a simple list of quests on a bigger map which also shows your party location. This is one of a few unfortunate UI issues, with very small text throughout, some clunky controls to navigate the myriad of options and an over reliance on symbols in the game. Once you get a few hours into the game, a lot of these issues resolve themselves as you need to refer to text less and learn the symbology, but still, its a shame it persists in the early hours.

3 on 1, still dont fancy our chances against a giant Polar Bear!

Whilst some UI problems exist, thankfully everything else in the game looks great. From the low poly models which suit the style of the game really well and almost look like real board game miniature models, to the landscape which feels alive and full of character. Another nice touch is how collecting loot from fallen foes, hidden chests or just spending hard found gold in shops you stumble across, actually changes the look of your character model – with different clothing, helmets and weapons meaning a massive degree of customisation is available. 

You’ll need all this gear as you face off with a wide variety of beasts on your travels in turn based combat. Each character has a few attacks in their arsenal based on their current weapon and diligent swapping of these will be needed when enemies offer resistance to certain types of attack. As with movement, the level of damage you do in an attack is determined by that dicey rolly chancy system.

If you take on a mob too high a level, there is a strong chance you will perish. Losing a single character isnt too sad as you have a limited number of revives, but lose all 3 in a battle will end your adventure and it will be time to start anew. During an adventure run, you will accumulate a currency called Lore and its at this point between runs you can spend some Lore to unlock a wide variety of items from new characters to weapons and even new locations. These are all added into the random mix with a chance of showing up in future games.

Dont even know what this is…

Just before I get to scoring, I’ll touch on the multiplayer. Now this is integrated beautifully with plenty of online games available since launch and the option to either jump in with randoms or password protect a game to play with friends is great. Be warned though, each run can take anything from 30 minutes to a few hours to play – but thankfully there is an option to save your online game and resume later, perfect for those quick sessions with your mates.

So overall, I really like For The King a huge amount and too be honest, from the trailers I didnt really fancy it. Its low poly art style won me over, it’s procedurally generated maps and encounters keep each run fresh and the chance system with that focus option really keeps every element of the game interesting.

There are some minor moments of slowdown but they really dont impact the game. Besides the UI issues, especially keeping track of quests and the tiny text being niggles that could be improved, there’s a lot to like in For The King.

SCORE: 6.5/10

  • RELEASE DATE: July 12th 2019
  • PRICE: $9.99 / £7.99
  • PUBLISHER: Cybernate
  • DEVELOPER: Surprise Attack
  • eShop Link

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