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