Knight Storm (iOS) review
Knight Storm is a medieval-themed role-playing game in which players take on the role of a new knight who has come into ownership of his own castle. Through a combination of going on adventures and engaging in jousts against rival knights, players must prove themselves and become a strong ruler of their own personal kingdom.
The game is split into several distinct components, each of which are introduced to the player through an initial tutorial, beginning with jousting. Jousting allows players to compete against either computer- or player-controlled opponents in mounted combat for various rewards. Engaging in a joust is relatively straightforward — both players pick “sigils” to apply to their combat, and these are then compared. Certain “tactics” beat other tactics and provide a bonus to the winning player; if tactics are tied, then the elemental affinity of the sigil is used to determine bonuses instead. If there is still no clear winner, the combatants use their base stats. Once the joust proper begins, the two combatants charge at each other. The player must drag the tip of their lance into a target area on the screen in order to inflict maximum damage. When the two knights clash, damage is inflicted according to the combination of stats, bonuses from the sigils and the accuracy of the attacking player. If either knight’s health bar is reduced to zero, they are knocked off their horse and lose the joust.
The “adventure” component of the game is a largely text-based affair with a few minigames along the way. For the most part, this involves a combination of “exploring” an area by turning over cards that conceal either treasures or traps, then working through a linear series of events and occasionally making choices to determine the outcome. Some adventures require combat — much like jousting, this requires the player to use their sigils to defeat their opponent, but does not have an “accuracy” component: aside from choosing the sigil, these incidental combats against monsters and bandits unfold automatically. Completing adventures allows the player to collect taxes from various areas of the world map, and also presents part of the game’s unfolding story.
The third part of the game revolves around the player managing and building their castle. Various areas within the castle allow the player to gain income and upgrade their equipment and abilities, and careful management of finances and the finite “followers” resource is required to make efficient use of the castle’s facilities. The castle continues to generate income and other resources even when the player is not actively playing the game; alternatively, the player may use hard currency to speed up time-consuming tasks. Hard currency may also be used to restore “stamina,” which is required to go on adventures and use sigils in jousts.
There’s a lot to like about Knight Storm. Its 3D graphics are stunning, and on a par with the most impressive top-end premium games on the platform such as Infinity Blade and its ilk. Its gameplay, too, has a considerable amount more depth than many other casual role-playing games of this type. But something just feels a little “off” about the atmosphere — it’s clear that the developers have worked hard to create a game that looks and sounds authentically “medieval,” but this lovingly-crafted atmosphere is spoiled any time some text appears on screen, as said text is frequently riddled with childish jokes and anachronisms that are really not in keeping with the tone of the game as a whole.
Similarly, there are a few strange decisions with regard to functionality — players are assigned a randomly-generated nonsensical username upon starting the game for the first time, and there does not appear to be any obvious means to change it; if the option is present, it’s not made at all obvious, as the list of players still using their default names will attest. The game supports Game Center, so it doesn’t really make any sense that the game doesn’t make use of the user’s established Game Center nickname and tie it more closely to that account — or alternatively, make use of a social network such as Facebook to generate unique IDs. The game has an obvious social element what with its online battles and the ability to customize one’s knight with new equipment, so to seemingly refuse players the ability to change their own username just seems a little strange.
These issues aside, Knight Storm is a good game with a lot of potential for future development. It’s fun, playable and impressive to look at — it’s just a bit of a shame that the tone is so inconsistent throughout.
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A decent casual mobile free-to-play role-playing game with a bit of an identity crisis.