Developed by IronOak Games and published by Curve Digital, For The King is a Roguelike Tabletop Adventure that has you setting off on an epic quest not for riches or fame, but for your village, for the realm, For The King! The game has been out on Steam in full release for just over a year and is now available on PS4, bringing with it its charming yet challenging combination of strategy and turn-based combat.
The game’s story sees the land of Fahrul on the brink of chaos. Good King Bronner has been killed by an unknown assailant, resulting in the land being ravaged by bandits and monsters due to the increase of wild Chaos energy. The grieving Queen Rosomon pleads with ordinary citizens to rise up and find the king’s murderer while also seeking out the source of the Chaos energy. It’s a simple enough plot to get you started on your adventure as you delve deeper into what is going on in the land of Fahrul.
When the game is started up for the first time, you’ll be able to choose which adventure you’d like to play in addition to selecting the difficulty and whether you’d like to play solo or co-op. For The King is the base campaign and probably the best place to start if you’re not overly familiar with the tabletop experience. There are a total of six campaigns available to play that take you to a host of different locations such as frozen tundras, the high seas and deep, dark dungeons.
Right before you jump in though, you’ll be able to select and customise your party. Parties are made up of three players and come in a number of different classes, each with their own particular skills and starting equipment. There a few options available, namely the Blacksmith, Scholar and Hunter, with more becoming available as you purchase them from the game’s Lore Store using points earned in-game.
What then follows is the beginning of your adventure and a random placing of your party on a map with hex-shaped tiles. From here you’ll be able to see settlements, enemies and points of interest. Your characters are able to move a certain amount of spaces before ending their turn, with every other action being decided by the roll of a virtual die, very much like an actual tabletop game.
Engaging in combat with enemies is a turn-based affair, very much like the older titles in the Final Fantasy series. The virtual die coupled with your characters’ stats will determine just how successful your attacks or defences will be. If the entire party is wiped out in combat, however, it spells the end of your journey, resulting in having to start the campaign from the very beginning on a new procedurally generated map.
For The King can be incredibly challenging. The random nature of the gameplay is something that might frustrate players in the early going. However, once the mechanics have been figured out, it makes for an incredibly rewarding and addictive experience. Additionally, players are able to make use of “Focus”, a chance to increase your luck and guarantee a successful dice roll if you’re really in a pinch. It’s a bit of a rare commodity though, so they’ll need to be used quite sparingly. Another option is playing with a friend via either local or online co-op, which is significantly more enjoyable than just attempting a solo adventure.
For The King also features something called Chaos, which increases as you progress through your campaign and ultimately creates navigational challenges for the player. The only way to combat this is by completing side quests, defeating Chaos Cultists and of course, not dying in the process. It’s an aspect that adds a fair amount of tension to the experience, making the somewhat slow nature of the gameplay a little more exciting.
All of this is wrapped up in one charming looking package. Everything from the characters to the environment are depicted as blocky wood carvings and it actually suits the game’s overall aesthetic quite nicely.
Audio wise, the For The King excels. There isn’t much in terms of spoken dialogue, but each character and enemy has distinctive sounds for each action they make. Not only that, but the soundtrack is great too, delivering a musical score that has a certain medieval flair to it. Plus there are some pretty cool sound effects during combat, especially when delivering the final blow to an enemy.
For The King is great. While it may have a bit of a steep learning curve and may not appeal to everyone, it’s been incredibly well-crafted to feel like quite a unique experience. Plus there’s a fair amount of content to enjoy here thanks to the inclusion of six different campaigns. It’s best played with a friend, though, as this can make your journey somewhat smoother, not to mention more enjoyable. For The King is worthy buy if you’re a fan of the Roguelike Tabletop RPG Genre.