For The King – The Verdict
Trouble has struck the lands of Farhul, the King has been slain and the minions of Chaos are roaming the lands, spreading their evil across what was once a friendly, happy land. This is For the King where your trio of characters aren’t adventuring and questing for fame or fortune, but to avenge their King!
Well, that is the case if you are playing the vanilla For the King experience. I’m playing the recent Switch release which includes all the free updates IronOak have released since the original PC release last year, updates offering endless dungeon crawling or all new adventures around Farhul. I briefly dallied with the PC version during EGX last year, and initially had some concerns about how the game would transfer over to consoles, let alone the portable mode on the Switch.
I needn’t have been concerned. This is a mighty fine port, while I’ve seen some slight performance drops in combat, you get the full experience here. Things are made smoother thanks to the hex-based map that is used within For the King, plotting your path around the map is smooth, and most actions are easily accessible on the joy-cons. The one strange decision is to put the End Turn button on the minus button, but I quickly settled into my rhythm.
When starting your adventure, you have freedom to create your three characters from a welcome variety of clothing options, with everyday professions like Blacksmith, Hunter and Scholar open to choose at the start of any adventure. Fitting archetypes to fit in my character names of Gendry, Arya and Sam (see where my influence is coming from?), with each profession bestowing special abilities upon your characters.
While the professions I chose from map across to heavy weapons, ranged and light weapons and magic seamlessly, the Minstrel profession offers an insight into the fun nature of For the King. A Minstrel will start with a high rating in the Talent stat, which allows them to bring a Lute or other musical instrument into battle.
Lute bearing Minstrels aren’t the only touch of fun that IronOak have included in For the King. Ghosts are named after their former living selves, while Jellies are just that, giant blobs of jelly. It should come as no surprise that you can unlock more entertaining items from the Lore Store. Lore is earned through completing quests for the Queen, side-quests picked up from the towns of Farhul or by complete the numerous dungeons that you find on your way.
Upon entering a dungeon, the overworld hex map disappears and your focus is on the combat. It is sensible to approach a dungeon with a well-stocked party, even if it means spending all your hard-earned gold at the nearest town. Unless you find a chest holding some much needed supplied, smaller dungeons won’t give you any chance to re-stock which can make a series of three or four battles, along with potential traps, a bit of a challenge.
It isn’t the end of the world if one of your characters die along the way, providing you have enough hearts remaining in your Life Pool. As part of your adventure, you can bring a character back to life, for the right price. If your Life Pool depletes completely and your trio gets wiped, then sadly it will be game over.
Fortunately, various special locations offer you a chance to add to your Life Pool, or decrease the Chaos that plagues Farhul. With Chaos rising, special Chaos Hexes will start spawning which you will want to avoid, while enemy health with start ratcheting up as Chaos rises.
Putting everything together, and you have a very fine RPG from IronOak, once that offers a nice level of replayability thanks to the procedurally generated maps, numerous character choices and various game modes.
While I fear For the King might have got lost in the shuffle on its original PC release, this console release has brought new life to what is a gem of an RPG. If you spy this one, I would suggest you check it out.
The Verdict – Headshot
Platforms Available – PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch
Platform Reviwed – Switch
Reviewed based on review code. Please read this post for more on our scoring policy.