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Knight Squad Review

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Knight Squad is an eight player party game that will fill your living room with laughter, rage and super competitiveness. It’s available from the 16th of November 2015 (17th in Australia) on PC/Steam and Xbox One. The game concept was developed for the 2013 Pixel Challenge where the team would create its prototype in 48 hours. The prototype went on to be crowned winner of the challenge by the judges (James Portnow, Ray Kowalewski, Christian Daigle). The team has then decided to bring the game to market with a full version starting development in February 2014.
Knight Squad features online or local multiplayer or a mixture of both which is a perfect feature for a game such as this. Game modes include Capture the Grail, Capture the Flag, Soccer, Gladiator, Last Man Standing, Team Deathmatch, Crystal Rush, Domination and Juggernaut. 
I had the opportunity to sit down with some of my friends (Zac, Jason and Ross) and test out what Knight Squad was all about and whether or not it would be worth buying/playing during a high season of big name released. Here’s what we experienced.

After downloading the modest sized game (about 500mb) we all booked a time to get online together, due to the fact that the closest locale of the guys above is about a five hour drive away. We sat together, separated by road and water and I started to host a game. Invites were sent out and immediately everyone joined in. This was the first tick in the box because there have been too many occasions where I would attempt to play online co-op games to find that the servers were horrible and rendered the game broken. This was not the case here and the servers ran perfectly and we were presented immediately with the game set up screen.
I was simply blown away when I realised the scope of the games that could be played. As mentioned above, I scrolled through the game modes which seemed to go on forever. There are so many game types here that it felt satisfying to see the effort that has been put into a small party game like this one. I chose Capture the Grail and we chose our characters.

The characters, although they don’t speak, deliver their own personalities quite well in a short animation upon choosing them. From a pretty Knight taking a “Selfie” to a brute that smacks himself in the head with his sword for intimidation, the characters are a neat touch and there will no doubt be one there for you to choose based on your own personality.

Getting into the game play was easy and fast. None of us guys knew what we were doing or what to expect but we were greeted by a tremendously intuitive control scheme that was very simple to learn and use. We were presented with a beautifully crafted and colourful top town map that somewhat resembled a game of “Bomberman” or a dungeon level from “Gauntlet”. We all spawned in our own respective sections on the map and we were tasked immediately to run to the middle of the map where the Holy Grail was sitting, waiting for its Knight in shining armour to come and take it back to their home. So I run to the Grail while the other guys are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I take the Grail back to my spawn zone and boom! Big points come my way. The Holy Grail then reloads itself into the middle of the map for the next run.

That’s this game mode in a nutshell but it gets ramped up significantly with power ups lying on the ground everywhere for everyone to take advantage of. There’s mighty swords, archery kits, ‘Run Faster’ boots, horses to mount, lasers to fire off and that’s just to name a few. The rest of the game just follows the path of absolute destruction and mayhem. Even just with the four of us there were arrows and lasers flying all over the place as we all attempted our quest for the Holy Grail to only be taken out just before we enter our spawn point to try and score.

There’s a soccer mode too which is absolutely amazing. To describe this one, I would like to draw reference to another very popular soccer styled game called Rocket League. You may have heard of it before. There’s a massive rock in the middle of the map with a goal at either end. You play in your teams (we had 2v2) and run into the ball to effect a kick and in true Knight Squad fashion, the power ups are here too so you can kill each other to clear a path to the goal. Our game ended in a very close 1-1 as I managed to score a last minute goal with about 6 seconds left to the game. 
So it took the four of us just over an hour to play through all of the different game modes once each and it became evident that there are many more hours to get out of this small title. The general consensus between the guys I was playing with is that this is a game best played on the couch with your friends with a few alcoholic beverages to accompany.

Knight Squad also has matchmaking so that you can play online with random opponents if you don’t have your friends online and there is also an option to play offline with Bots. Beware; the Bots can be brutally hard even on the regular settings. 


On top of playing with Bots, you can also try your hands at the Challenge mode. There is a series of stages set up with different challenges that you are to complete in order to get your ranking on the world leader board.  The first challenge takes a little bit of time to work out what to do but then easily is beaten within a decent time frame. Unfortunately for me, the difficulty spike went from bearable to completely and utterly insane. Now at the time of playing this part, the game was still unreleased so the world hadn’t got its sweaty little hands on it as yet, but there are a handful of media outlets that have played it. So somewhere out there are a couple of journalists (or maybe developers) that have managed to beat the second level of killing four massive worms in about 90 seconds. I take about that long to kill zero worms and die.

So that’s about the only negative experience for me, but that may just be my skill level. I just would have like the challenge to come a little later than the second level as you can’t proceed in Challenge mode unless you finish the level before.

Knight Squad is a marvellous game that I must recommend to everyone to pick up. It has modest pricing on the Xbox One and Steam and if you get your friends together for a game then you won’t be disappointed. The amount of laughter and fun that can be had with this game is a clear winner compared to other party games out there. It’s competitive, fun and is sure to have you hooked for hours on end if you let it.

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