Portal Knights is a beautiful new Sandbox Action-RPG game. Now if you have seen any info on this game already then a certain game called Minecraft is going to spring to mind but don’t let this fool you. This game has a lot to offer and brings a new view into the sandbox style of gameplay. In a world of broken islands caused by The Fracture, it will be your job to investigate each land to restore peace. Through exploration, crafting and character building you will be taking on a massive quest either through solo play or with friends in co-op to go forth and write your own story through your own style of play.
You start off with the first choice to make, character selection, there will be options here for most types of players in the form of a Warrior, Mage or Ranger. Personally, I went for the ranger, I just can’t resist that style of character in these games. Next, comes the character customisation. This is not the most in-depth customisation I have seen in a game but it does give you a good variation of changes to make, just to give your character that little bit more personalisation which is something every RPG gamer enjoys. Once you have finished setting up your character the time comes to generate the world on which you will explore. Here you will be taught the basics of fighting, harvesting and building. You can also take a moment to admire just how pretty this game is. It might not be the most advanced graphics but it is very crisp and colourful.
The Minecraft-esque worlds have a selection of basic landscapes including forests, deserts and mountain areas but each area is generated procedurally for your adventuring pleasure. Each area is rich in resources that will be specific to the type of island you are on, this also goes for the enemies, you may not always face the same ones but they will specific to that type of island. You will want to be careful when exploring when the sun goes down as there will be more enemies to face but would also be a great time to go farming for experience points. With 47 islands to explore in total, you are going to have plenty to keep you occupied on your adventure. The enemies that you will face may seem easy at first but do not be lead into a false sense of security, this will get a lot harder as you progress and the bosses themselves are going to take a good bit of thought before you run in screaming your war-cry.
Crafting is a huge part of the game and you will be able to create and modify until your hearts content for such items as Potions, Weapons, Furniture and Gear. Through upgrades to you Crafting Table, you will have access to much more items. The process of crafting does seem to be a lot more simplified compared to other games of the genre with recipes and details on what you will need to obtain to craft the items you are after. To progress in the game you will need to craft eight Blue Portal Stones but you should only move forward once you know you have collected everything you will need to progress. If building is your thing then get ready to let your creative side out, there is plenty of room in the maps to create a home to be proud of and not only that but you can do this in each of the worlds, so go and grab those blocks and put your mark on the lands.
Progressing your character in the game brings out the RPG feel. From each starting class, you will gradually gain XP from beating on enemies. This is then put into growing your character through increasing their stats which will, in turn, unlock better abilities and help bring out their characteristics. The three classes that you have available are very well balanced which really helps with the co-op aspect of the game with no class becoming a problem in a group but each having their own strengths to use with the Warrior for getting up close and personal to the Mage with his use of magic for support and of course not forgetting the range of the Ranger and their bow. If you can get 4 players involved then having two warriors with a mage and ranger for backup would be a very strong team indeed.
There has been a lot of comparison of Portal Knights to a mix of Minecraft, Zelda and Dark Souls but in a more simplified manner. I can already hear you all laugh at the Dark Souls reference but there are very subtle nods with the locking on through combat and constantly rolling to avoid attacks (Wait for the bosses!). You have character builds that again sort of reflect a Dark Souls style such as Dexterity, Strength and Magic. I wouldn’t have personally put this up with Dark Souls but I can see where the small similarities are such as with the difficulty of the bosses that will lay the smack down on you quickly if you don’t take a step back and look at how to best them. There is obviously quite a Minecraft feel to Portal Knights but it is has done it in a way that really makes it it’s own by taking what works and using it well. This game is one to be enjoyed with friends and I feel has been pointed at a younger audience (My son loves this game so much) but it has a lot to offer and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good bit of crating and exploration.