I was gifted For The King by a good and kind friend of mine. While I enjoy thoughtful storylines, innovative gameplay, and unique art, I also grew up on turn-based RPG’s. Fighting to protect the realm from evil, defeating monsters that threaten Fahrul, accepting quests for rewards great and small… IronOak Games knew that all these points would make for a wonderful game, and these same points made the return to my roots a satisfying homecoming.
The campaign is a simple one: the king was assassinated, the unknown murderer still roaming free. The queen, in her grieving state, looks to the loyal citizens of her realm to help her combat the chaotic energy that begins to plague Fahrul. With up to three adventurers under your control, you can embark on your epic adventure alone or with friends.
Now let’s begin the grand tale!
Choose Your Hero Carefully
For The King puts their own spin on the traditional classes that populate RPGs, which made for refreshing playthroughs as I could try out different team compositions to complete campaigns. Take for example the Hobo, a man with nothing to his name except for perfectly balanced stats. The Hobo is a great jack of all trades considering how versatile his role can be if equipped with the right gear. Though there are only three adventurer slots, it’s still plenty of room for your standard DPS-tank-healer composition. But if you have friends like mine, you’ll find they’d rather start with three DPS classes, strategy be damned.
Sure, you can rely on buying herbs to sustain your life a little longer than usual when your plans inevitably go awry, but money is scarce in the game — unless you have a Bard, that is. With the Bard’s ability to perform near towns coupled with the equipment that multiplies money, my party found a neat way to get around the fiscal challenges. One person would buy all the equipment and herbs needed for the journey, while the rest of the party can do their own thing. The only downside is that if the person with the money dies, the rest of the party needs to head to their remains to pick the money up.
A Scourge Upon The Earth!
Chaos and Scourges are other unique aspects of the game. They create a sense of urgency — without them, For The King would be just another leisure RPG. The notices that tell you how many turns until a Chaos or Scourge activates forced my party re-evaluate our plans, movements, and actions during each individual turn. Like in every tactical game, positions matter. If someone has a ranged weapon, they don’t have to stand too close to the rest of the party when a battle is initiated. However, if you’re caught out in the open without the support of your fellow short-ranged melee adventurers, that kind of move may very well cost your life.
The co-op aspect was addictively fun and made to punish us for our mistakes. Able to separate from the party and forge ahead, our adventurers had to navigate around monsters and their positions, which changed with the time of day. As you explore, you'll come come across biomes. Different biomes can get increasingly dangerous or become your saving grace — depending on what you find. What was especially interesting was that though you’d want to level up as fast you can to beat the campaign, it was sometimes wiser to avoid fights than to engage in every one you see. This is something learned from the more seasoned players of the original pen-and-paper RPG, Dungeons and Dragons.
Off To The Next Adventure
For The King embodies the classic turn-based RPG, with a multiplayer co-op up to two other players. In a party of three, it’s a bite-sized adventure that scales in difficulty should you choose to challenge yourself. Add in the good ol’ RNG, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Needless to say, the game pushed my party of friends to make decisions that spiced up our campaign — whether we were running out of life-saving herbs, being ambushed by krakens at sea, or leaving a Chaos or Scourge activated due to limited movement, the hours I put into For The King were challenging, fun, and full of spirit.