It’s quite a daunting thing to do, taking part in a hands-on preview of a game. Doing Portal Knights, for example, you walk into an office boardroom, with a projector screen and three developers looking at you. They are waiting for you to play their game that they have worked and slaved over for many years. It’s like giving someone a Christmas present while watching them open it, and looking for any hints or signs of displeasure in their face. Thankfully, the people from Keen Games and 505 Games don’t make you feel anxious and are generally so enthralled with their new game Portal Knights, that all you have to do is relax and enjoy the experience.
Portal Knights’ early version has been available on PC for a short while now and the team has learnt a lot, working with the community to find out what they enjoy and now the finished article is coming to consoles on 28th April. But what is it? Well it’s a brilliant mix of Terraria and Zelda, with splashes of Minecraft.
You start the game all alone on a randomly generated Island and the goal of your little knight is to collect or craft enough portal stones, to be able to open a portal to get to the next island. Each Island will always have its own eco structure, animals and enemies, a homestead and some kind of dungeon, at the very least. You could go straight to your homestead to make a crafting table and then start building, but what you build is up to you. Do you get some amour or a fancy weapon? Should you concentrate on farming resources and a spot of mining; you might need a pickaxe first? Or do you go straight out there, attack some creatures, and pinch their stuff? Speed run a dungeon and bob’s your uncle your soon on another Island. You can also choose to hang around, do some farming and build up your amour. There are so many choices, but not in a daunting way.
Just playing a couple of hours of gameplay was hard for me, because all I really wanted to do was to close the curtains, make a cup of tea and put in some long man hours doing heavy mining and building a shed load of resources. But no, I had to try an experience all aspects of the game and that’s not a bad thing, because it left me wanting more. I saw some people like me who have built – on the PC version – whole universes from their obsession with the game.
The fighting mechanics work extremely well and I got to experience the different ways of attacking; using a sword, arrows and magic. I also got to experience the characters at different level stages, with magical special weapons that they have found or made. The boss level I did was fun, not at all frustrating, but I did have a helping hand. You see, the game offers local co-op and online co-op. I did the boss with the help of a developer and the connectivity, sharing skills and gameplay were fun and seamless. It’s a perfect game to play with friend or family member at home and, of course, it is great for kids and adults alike. Then you have the online element, which is going to be brilliant fun as well, especially in the harder later stages. The looks of the game are colourful, feeling very cosy and familiar with their cartoon vibes. It’s a game that promises fun.
So to conclude, I am very excited about getting my hands on the game fully in the next few weeks. There are questions like how will it keep my attention in the long game? How many different things can I build? Is there an overall story to follow? But hopefully when we get to review it, all these questions and much more will be answered. For now, the future is very bright for Portal Knights.