Squad Knight has been available for a few days now and I had my fair share of entertainment with it. This multiplayer competitive party game is self styled as a “friendship destroyer”. I put this game, and my friendships, to the test!
The game is self described as a “Bomberman meets Gauntlet”, or if you were born after the 90’s (you poor thing!) it means that it’s a top-view game with a ton of powerups and destroyable walls. After a good session, there should be little standing in-game. After a REALLY good session, this may apply to real life objects thrown in anger towards a former friend.
This is unforgivable! The game modes.
This game is a throwback to the years of Mario Party, when your best friend becomes your worst enemy in a matter of minutes and then your best friend again when he gets to be on your team.
You have several game modes to choose from:
- Domination: Team based. Capture the points to increase your score steadily, when the time runs out the team with the most points wins. You can’t mess with a classic.
- Crystal Rush: Team based. Protect your crystals and destroy the others! Use the drill power-up to do that, but they have very low reach so you have to rely on teammates to cover you. A chaotic balancing act, you’ll love it or hate it.
- Capture the Flag: Team based. Classic! Do I need to explain myself?
- Soccer: Team based. Push the ball to score goals, like in the beautiful game. Unlike soccer, you can kill the opposing team to make it easier!
- Team Deathmatch: Team based. Kill the opposing team! The team with the most kills by the end of the round wins.
- Capture the Grail: Free for all. Kill everyone on your way and capture the grail! The grail will slow you down, so watch out! Most captures by the end of the round wins.
- Gladiator: Free for all. All kills make points, but staying in the center of the map will earn you a steady score. Highest score by the end of the round wins!
- Juggernaut: Free for all. BE THE JUGGERNAUT, B!#@$! By becoming the juggernaut, you get a minigun to mow down the rest of the players! A fine friendship destroying moment.
- Last Man Standing: Free for all. Exactly what it says on the title. Stay alive the longest for two out of three rounds to win.
- Jail Break: Team based, DLC. Killed players go to jail, you have to break them out. If all players are captured, the other team wins a round. Beat two out of three rounds to win. Infuriatingly entertaining.
- Arms Race: Free for all, DLC. Another classic. Cycle through all available weapons by repeatedly killing your friends!
- Serial Killer: Free for all, DLC. When you spawn, you’re indicated the knight you have to kill to advance. Kill them all to win! Very tricky to be aware of your next target while avoiding being killed. You can also steal someone else’s kill to stop them from winning and losing another friend!
- Soul Hunter: Free for all, DLC. Kill your friends, steal their souls, bring them back to your spawn. Killing an enemy will steal all his collected souls, mutual kills destroy them all so be careful!
Wow, that is a long list, even without the DLC! There is also a Challenge mode where beating each challenge unlocks the next, up to six different types and they include leaderboards so you can rub your highscore into everyone’s noses.
’tis but a flesh wound. (The gameplay)
Each mode has many level designs that tilt the gameplay one way or the other. They force you to rush, to flank, to simply walk through the walls with a giant drill strapped to you. The many, MANY power ups mix things up as well: walk faster, have better reach, throw bouncing projectiles or friggin’ laser beams, ride a horse, get a shield, become a walking kamikaze bomb and even RAISE UNDEAD MINIONS! They were pretty clever when making the levels as to where the different power-ups should be.
The only problem I found so far, gameplay wise, is that the controls for keyboard+mouse are fairly terrible, so a gamepad is a must for this game. I used a PS4 controller with an emulator without any problems. There are a few bugs if you are using the keyboard as the main controller to set the games, so use a gamepad all the way.
And about the online… You can’t just pop up on anyone’s match. You’ll have to find a lobby, but that didn’t work for me. What I suggest is you go to the discussion forums to add other players so you can create a lobby and invite them to play with you.
But who needs online? The bot AI is excellent and you can adjust the level of difficulty for the challenge you want. You can even go to the “Bot Showdown” mode and simply look at them whack each other! Good times.
If playing with bots or -gasp!- people is not your cup of tea, you can always do the solo challenges.
Verdict and everything else.
The sound and music is well done, nothing earth shattering here. But I’d like to mention I loved the announcer’s Shao Khan like booming voice, it was another reminder of the olden days of Quake and Mario friend-killing fests.
For the asked price, there is an insane amount of content. By content I mean of course hours and hours of stabbing your friends in the back with a longsword. Get this game, it’s DLC and seven gamepads, pronto!