Portal Knights | Nintendo Switch Review
In an industry that is seemingly flooded with Minecraft clones and spin oﬀs, it is quite challenging to bring something new to the table while still constantly being associated with the “blocky mining game” sub genre. Portal Knights is most certainly lumped into that category due its familiarity in the mining and exploring elements of its core gameplay, but oﬀers players a lot more in terms of how they would like to play and what kind of adventure they’d like to have either alone, or with friends in local or online multiplayer.
With all that into account, Portal Knights attempts to break the mold and focuses more instead on quests and an actual progression of its level designs. As opposed to a vast world that is yours for the sculpting, you are presented with an isolated, compact little space of your own that you are free to break down, or improve upon as you please with the “endgame” being to collect enough portal blocks to grant you a ticket to the next sub world. Because of the fleeting nature of this gameplay element, it almost seems to sway the player to progress and see what the next stage has to oﬀer, as opposed to setting up camp. I advise not to be too hung up on this fact, seeing as you can always fast travel back to each level. Each stage has its own unique and colorful landscape with a cast of thematic enemies and quests to undertake. Slaying these enemies and completing these quests reward you with experience points that you can use to level up your character. This allows for a deep customizable skill tree and attribute point system which tailors your gameplay pretty heavily depending on what type of adventurer you want to become. This leaves the door open for all kinds of diﬀerent experiences.
Seeing as the review code given was for the Nintendo Switch, the following comments reflect only this port of the game. Portal Knights runs at a pretty solid 30 frames per second with drops occurring only ever so often in both handheld and docked modes. Graphically speaking, we are seeing resolutions of 1080p and 720p for docked and portable modes respectively. While hitting 1080p is certainly impressive for a game with this much content, the simple cartoony art style leaves a tad to be desired. Relatively lower draw distances are also present, but don’t hinder gameplay at any point. Another thing of note, it appears that the game doesn’t fully take advantage of the HD Rumble features of the Joy-con, as every action has the same vibrating feedback without any change in intensity. This vibration intensity also causes the linear resonant actuator to let out an actual pitch which makes the game very irritating to play in a quiet environment; I ultimately opted to just disable vibration entirely, which was a shame (I do appreciate being given the option)
On a lighter note, the inventory system was almost made with a touchscreen in mind, so it is very appreciated that the developers enabled full touch screen functionality into the game. Being able to drag items from your bag into the quick access bar is a very valuable asset to the game considering the menus otherwise are not too intuitive. Also, the inherent multiplayer aspects really shines on the Switch with its use of split screen multiplayer (although you will need two full sets of Joy-con for this one).
All things considered, I ultimately feel that Portal Knights is actually very well suited for this port and feels right at home on the Nintendo hybrid. In summation, Portal Knights has a lot to oﬀer to its players, no matter the path you take. If you prefer to round up some friends and spend hours tearing apart a single world, that’s great! If you want to take it solo and slay some monsters and power up your character to overpowered proportions, you’ll have fun as well. With the Nintendo Switch port, you are able to take these charming worlds with you on the go and play at your own pace, which makes it the quintessential version of the game in my opinion. Don’t be fooled by initial impressions, Portal Knights really stands in a league of its own and is definitely worth a purchase, even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of modern “mining” games.
*Review Copy was provided by 505 Games, Portal Knights is Also Available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.