More of the same, only now with fantasy clichés!
It seems like ever since FarmVille burst onto the social gaming scene, everyone has been trying to copy it. Well, not everyone, but a lot of people. Freemium time-gated farming “sims” have practically become their own genre at this point, and now there’s one more name to add to the ever-growing list. A game that’s more than a rehash, but still not exactly groundbreaking: Knightly Adventure.
As with most free-to-play games it’s difficult to discern – or even drum up the enthusiasm to look for – any real plot. But that’s okay, because there are acres of land to develop and monsters aplenty to slay. Players divide their time between questing and property management; possibly planting a few crops and collecting some wood harvested from the mill, then going out to slay giant turtles while they wait for some real-world time to pass. Completing quests earns experience and the occasional item – both of which can be used to make a chosen character more formidable in battle – while crops bring in extra cash and materials gathered from production buildings can be used to craft better equipment. Mechanics and gameplay systems feed in to other mechanics and gameplay systems, creating a cartoony fantasy world that will keep players playing without the need to step away in order to pass the time.
Typically I find the handholding and overt friendliness of many freemium titles to be fairly irritating, but this mild coddling actually works in Knightly Adventure‘s favor. Selecting a character in the beginning is a good way to get acclimated to the basics of play, but the decision isn’t permanent if no one wants it to be. At any point players can switch to any of the other playable characters from their “Home,” with the only penalty for doing so being the need to assign skill points and possibly find/purchase/craft some better gear. Levels, resources, and cash are all shared between characters, making experimentation with the different classes an absolute breeze.
This same concept of “helicopter gaming” being a positive thing even carries over into the combat. Sure it’s incredibly simple, with characters that will auto-engage enemies that wander close enough (“close enough” meaning almost off the edge of the screen) and some very simple level designs, but removing the need to constantly click to attack frees up the mouse to activate skills and the simple levels keep things from dragging on for too long. And yet it tends to be just long enough to put a decent dent in all those wait times back on the farm.
Much like Sir Boss’ sword, this pandering has a double edge. Yes, it’s a freemium game with iOS/Facebook cross-compatibility. Yes, it’s incredibly forgiving and keeps frustration to a minimum. However this can also lead to tedium, which is Knightly Adventure‘s biggest stumbling block. Ignoring the quests, crafting, and colorful cartoon fantasy, it’s not really anything we haven’t played before. Alternatively, when considering the quests, crafting, and colorful cartoon fantasy it’s all fairly bog-standard. The combination of these two concepts – the farming sim and the light RPG – goes a long way to stave off immediate boredom, but sooner or later it’s bound to manifest itself. Perhaps when running along what is essentially a straight path (despite its winding) for the eighth time in order to gather prunes; perhaps when the realization hits that hiring helper heroes is pointless because they eventually cost so much that simply taking on a quest will require squirreling away a horde of gold. No matter the reason, it’s bound to happen.
Of course, that’s also why games of this nature are typically intended to be played in small bursts. But when it’s quite possible to spend larger-than-average chunks of time with the window to developer Pangalore’s world open, it becomes very noticeable. That’s certainly no reason to avoid Knightly Adventure, though, as many would consider these qualities to be a positive thing — but potential players should be aware that it’s not exactly reinventing the wheel.