Clad head to toe in armor, a warrior steps into a small arena, walled on all sides and filled with obstacles. Other knights, clad in similar armor, also gather near him, sharpening their weapons and shining their helmets. A warning horn blows and at once the knights are ready, then it blows again and all take off for the battleground, knowing there are better weapons around a corner. One knight finds a crossbow, another a large shield. Suddenly, an armored foe swings a sword from around a corner and is met with an arrow in the side, slumping to the ground. Another warrior comes from the other side, this one connecting with a swing and felling the crossbowman’s teammate. A hail of arrows is slung from both sides before sword clashes and falling bodies echo throughout the arena.
The Knight Squad battle is on!
Knight Squad is Bomberman-esque gameplay with a medieval twist. Developed by Chainsawsome Games (excellent name by the way), this is a party game for quick matches with friends (or random online strangers) or a challenge mode with multiple difficulties. The game is a fun quick pickup if you’re looking for a good time (making enemies of your friends) or a challenging AI battle.
Take up the role of one of a handful of different knights, each with differing snazzy armor (I’m particularly fond of Smoke, a knight adorned with a dragon helmet and tail) and slay away in one of 13 different game modes (or one of a handful of challenges). Traditional Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes exist but are mixed with some more interesting ones like Crystal Rush (protect team crystals while destroying opponent’s), Jailbreak (kind of like elementary school dodgeball), and Serial Killer (kill opponents in order assigned). The variety is what keeps the fun going, something party games sometimes miss the mark on.
The challenges are all in a boss battle style, one lone knight against an army of skeletons, or ogres or a bigger boss. These can be pretty damn tough, as the player takes only one hit to be killed and some enemies have waves of projectiles or are faster than the player. After winning, there’s a leaderboard to compare your score with others. It would be nice to be able to access this leaderboard information before choosing, battling, and winning or losing at a challenge. Maybe a universal one where the player can choose the specific challenge and see what score they need to beat?
Something interesting is the Bots Showdown option. Nothing like sitting back, maybe placing a few friendly bets, and watching the game play itself as AI knights slaughter each other for your amusement. Oh would the Roman Emperors be proud! (I know, different time period, sue me, it was the only reference that came to mind.)
Did I mention there are unlockable characters? Well there are! I unlocked one as I was playing and writing this review, definitely didn’t know about it prior. A shadowy question mark or silhouette noting this would be nice, as I always am a sucker for anticipation over randomly dropping something into my lap. Maybe even some kind of chart/tracker for unlockables?
Aside from my few suggestions, the game is fun and worth a shot for playing with friends (whenever this crazy quarantining ends) or online, or trying to do your best in the challenges.
I’m giving this game a 7/10 because I know it and the company have potential and I genuinely had a good time with it. The game is available June 5th on the Nintendo Switch!