I bet a lot of you will remember a MMO game called Soldat. It was a highly moddable side-scrolling 2d shooter, a sort of hybrid between Counter-Strike and Worms featuring deathmatch playability and an enthusiastic online community. It enjoyed good popularity in the year 2002 when it was originally released, for many years to come and still enjoys some popularity now, with 600 servers and 2000 daily players online.
King Arthur’s Gold
All the brains behind Soldat, now ganged up in Transhuman Design to create a similar game. King Arthur’s Gold was developed in April 2011, with the first playable version being released only three days after the start of the project and it has been in constant development, with the first full version being released on Steam on November 5, 2013. It is still updated periodically to improve and to get rid of nasty bugs.
Remember how I told you that Soldat was a hybrid between Counter-Strike and Worms? Well, King Arthur’s Gold has turned out to be a hybrid between Soldat and modern roguelike sandbox games like Minecraft or Terraria, although with a heavy focus on PvP combat, construction and siege weapons.
The game features teams of up to 16 players each battling each other on a battlefield over the most diverse objectives. The game features three classes of playable characters: Knights that can slice their enemies with swords, Archers that can kill their enemies from a distance and Builders that, although not as glamorous as the other two classes, they are the backbone of any King Arthur’s Gold army since they can build fortifications for their teams and siege weapons from hell to assault the enemy fortifications.
There’s a “Take The Halls” game mode that features researchable tech. In this mode, Builders have to procure the resources to build workshops where you can research the most varying kinds of technology, from lanterns to viking longboats and even arrows with bombs strapped on their tips. (BOOM!) In “Take The Halls” mode, the teams will be pitted against each other in an arms race and the team that isn’t fast enough to procure the necessary gold and resources to develop new technology will face certain defeat. There is the simpler “Capture The Flag” mode but the “Take The Halls” mode involves a lot of strategy and planning ahead. The action frequently takes place behind the safety of fortress walls, far away from the carnage taking place in the middle of the map.
A tutorial shines light on the most important aspects of the game, but most of the ins and outs of this game are not easy to learn. For example, there is a way to use sharks, riding them as means of transport but it’s nearly impossible to learn to use that feature without resorting to YouTube tutorials.
After finishing the tutorial, I nose dived into the multiplayer mode of King Arthur’s Gold to see what I could find there. After a few rounds of merely providing easy kills for my enemies, I was totally familiarized with the multiplayer action and I was actually contributing to my team! There were times when I didn’t want to think so I switched to the Knight class and rushed to the center of the map to bash skulls with my sword. Other times when I wanted to be the grand architect of my team’s strategy, I switched to builder class and I stayed far away from the frontline building fortifications and machines of death for my team. Or maybe I just wanted to troll other players from a distance and zoomed out a lot with the camera and made death rain on them with the Archer class. It’s surprising the amount of flexibility that each playable class provides.
The game’s graphics are neatly designed in pixel-art. They strongly remind me of Terraria, although with a huge nod to the aesthetics of classic RPGs. The music and sound effects are A-OK, nothing special to brag about.
My final thought on King Arthur’s Gold after playing for quite a bit is that it is a game that has a lot to give, and that shows not only on the flexibility that each playable class provides to the player but in the very unique way that each multiplayer match unfolds. There are those matches where you’ll be the hero of your team, slaying more enemies than any other player, and those dreadful matches where you’ll insta-lose (or insta-win, maybe) without having done anything and not even understanding what the f*** has just happened. Even if you have already spent a lot of time playing and got bored of it, you may decide to re-install it to give it another go and it will feel like a totally different game. It’s also highly moddable, so the possibilities are nigh-endless. At ten bucks only, It’s definitely a must-buy. I suggest getting together with three friends and buying the four-pack at only seven and fifty bucks to each copy to avoid the frustration associated to playing with anons. Step on the catapult and get launched into the fun!