Developer IronOak Games has announced that its delightful tabletop-RPG-meets-digital-board-game For The King will be leaving Steam early access in “early April”, with an Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch release planned for 2019.
I stumbled across For The King on Steam early last year, and it’s a game I keep coming back to. It features a bunch of familiar, if streamlined, RPG systems – dungeon crawling, questing, turn-based exploration and combat, loot acquisition, and so on – and fashions them into a tough, roguelike experience that plays out a lot like the RNG-heavy, luck-mitigation designs of so-called Ameritrash board games, such as Arkham Horror.
For The King’s story isn’t exactly a complicated one: the king is dead and your plucky band of three adventurers, picked from a pool of distinct classes, must scour the hex-based kingdom in search of his killer. However, it’s got a real, swashbuckling sense of anything-can-happen adventure, thanks to the myriad mini-events that can pop onto the procedurally assembled map any time as you roam the world.
There are mysterious ruins to investigate, antediluvian altars, suspicious strangers, haunted carnivals, sleepy hamlets, and cavernous dungeons – not to mention the fearsome creatures that roam the land. Most non-combat encounters are usually resolved with the equivalent of a dice role, although you can spend Focus to tips the odds of victory in your favour, and each event brings its own micro-narrative, adding a touch more richness to your adventure.
Combat, meanwhile, introduces a more typically strategic edge to proceedings as you juggle items, upgrade your arsenal, and expand your skills to counter the various beasties of the world – with limited Focus offering a tactical means of bolstering your chances of victory.
Then there’s the ever-present day-and-night cycle, which conjures its own unique time-specific encounters, along with a Chaos system which constantly threatens to awaken secret cults and ancient horrors, all with their own game-flipping abilities. It all makes for a wonderful little story generator, conjuring new adventures with every play-though.
For The King manages to pack a load of personality into its marvellous low-poly art-style too, which nicely complements the broad strokes of its lightly etched adventures – and, best of all, it supports online and offline co-operative questing for up to three players.
I’ve been super-impressed with For The King throughout its early access journey, so it’s great to see it reaching Version 1.0 in such rude health. It’s currently scheduled to launch at the start of April on PC, with a console release set for 2019. IronOak is also teasing an “all-new adventure” at launch, although it’s not immediately clear what form this might take.