I’m a sucker for a stealth game and was instantly interested in King of Thieves [ free ] based on the theme and store screen shots. The first 10 minutes with this game are awfully mundane as you are forced to sit though one tutorial pop-up after the other. I had to stop the first time as I just wasn’t in the mood to spend my train ride from work staring at tutorials – I wanted to PLAY.
It’s times like this that I really reflect on games which have successfully integrated tutorials into the game play rather than showing it all up front. There is no easy way to do it for games with complex mechanics, but alas it can be done with the right developer dedication. It seems that for many games that get it wrong the tutorial is an afterthought once the games development reaches its final stages, and then a tutorial is ‘retro fit’.
When I finally got to play the actual game, I quite enjoyed the simple and responsive mechanic. You can walk, jump and slide down walls in a way similar to Super Meat Boy, only the left/right movement is automatic in this game.
The games highlight is its multi-player raid mode, which allows you to booby trap your own dungeon and protect your treasure from real players, as will as revenge raiding theirs.
One of the key problems I had with this game was that it has difficulty identifying what it is trying to do.
There is the multi-player raiding aspect, a single player campaign, a totem enchanting system, upgradable gold mine and a dungeon editor. All these things integrate together, and often, especially in the early stages, you may struggle with direction. I feel that if the mechanic was limited to just a couple of these mechanics there would be a more fluent dialogue between player and game.
As a free freemium game, expect to find many ‘cool down’ barriers. Asking you to ‘use x gems to complete this task or wait x minutes’
I have been playing the game for several days now, and am REALLY enjoy the multiplier aspect. getting that notification ‘Your dungeon has been raided by SepherofX777x’ stirs up some primitive responses in the brain chemistry – how can this guy steal from me?? How dare they steal my prescious shiney trinkets that I stole from him yesterday?? The game then offeres you the opportunity to revenge attack as well as watching gameplay footage of how exactly the player bypassed your security. Giving some insight into how best to fortify.
But it does get frustrating, as the ‘Freemium’ crap always stands in your way. You see there is a ‘key system’. Every time you raid another players dungeon you need to bypass their ‘locks’ – which is a simple mini game of guessing which out of X locks is the correct. For each wrong selection you lose a key, which sucks, as some locks have 5 or more locks! Guess what happens when you run out of locks? You got it, you need to wait x minutes or bypass the process with some gems (or some shit).
It almost feels the game doesn’t need it’s single player mode, as the multiplier trumps it on all levels, If only to streamline the game and focus on a clear player journey, which I feel the game has trouble doing. The freemium stink is hard to wash off.
Somewhere in all this chaos is a good game, It just feels like there is a lot going on, which is in part caused by the free to play model and all the baggage it brings. Ie. Additional gem systems. Sure the game has depth with all the different up-gradable systems, including a costume system, but they feel somewhat disconnected from the thief theme. (Why would a thief have a totem pole in his den) One old saying that comes to mind after reviewing games like this is ‘ less is more’.
A redeeming aspect of the game is the High production value, it looks pretty sweet. All the transitions and pop ups slide in and out with polished animations and flair, always a nice touch.
All in all a decent free game with great visuals and polished UI. There’s definitely something their to be excited about, but i feel it just hasn’t been executed in the best way.