For The King resembles a digital board game, and the similarities are intentional. IronOak Games drew inspiration from a physical prototype to create an RPG-roguelike filled with danger and adventure.
The king is dead, murdered by an undiscovered assassin. Fahrul, the kingdom, falls into chaos. The desperate queen has no choice but to turn to her citizens for help. She issues a call to anyone, citizen or soldier, to help alleviate ongoing crisis. The player garners a small party of ragtag adventurers and sets out on a larger-than-life quest that could be deadly.
For The King features solo or cooperative gameplay. The party of three heroes can be controlled in single-player mode, or controlled jointly by someone else online. They can explore the map together, or split up to cover more ground. Every decision matters, because dangers can pop up at every turn. Deciding when to set up camp and when to brave the horrors of the night can mean the difference between survival and death. Combat can occur outside, or inside dangerous dungeons. In turn-based face-offs, the fighters select an attack type and spend focus points on abilities.
While the world of Fahrul is unforgiving, the party can find useful lore that reveals information about secrets and mechanics helpful for future playthroughs. Additionally, the weapon-crafting system in the game is persistent, so the next adventure on the procedurally-generated maps could be easier than the last.
Canadian studio IronOak Games is composed of ex-AAA developers.
“When AAA developers venture out into indie territory, the whole industry wins. For The King is a great example of a game that wouldn’t get made in a traditional publisher setting,” Gordon Moran, art director at IronOak Games, said. “Pushing genre boundaries, like adding multiplayer co-op to a roguelike, takes the freedom and passion only found in independent development. Support from nearly 3,000 fans on Kickstarter is a good indicator that we’re making the right moves.”
For The King finished its Kickstarter campaign, blowing past the $40,000 (CAD) goal. Achieving over $130,000, the campaign reached a few stretch goals, unlocking a special Minstrel class among other additions. The developers still accept pledges via PayPal on their website.