If you’ve ever played games such as Blizzard’s Diablo series, or Runic’s Torchlight, Kings Road from Rumble Entertainment should feel instantly familiar. Howeverer, unlike the former 2 games I mentioned, Kings Road is a free-to-play browser based action RPG, rather than a standalone download, and is currently in Open Beta, so I decided to give it a go.
You start off as a plucky adventuring type, trying to save the land of Alderstone from a mysterious unknown evil – a set up most RPG players will be familiar with. The opening quest is to battle your way through a small village that’s being terrorised by some local bandits. Movement is controlled by simply clicking where you want to go, and combat is controlled by mashing the left mouse button over the heads of your enemies, who spew out loot upon dying, like large fleshy piñatas.
Once through the opening area, you find yourself at the main gaming ‘hub’. Here you can switch the type of hero you want to be – fighter, archer or wizard. This can be done as many times as you like, so if you’ve played a few levels as a fighter, but fancy switching to some hocus-pocus hand waving, it’s just a case of talking to one of the NPCs. As you level up you gain additional class specific skills, which you assign to your 1-5 keys, to help you battle through the various zones. Although you can switch between roles at any time, you start at level 1 for each class, so you’ll probably end up going back and replaying through the earlier levels to get the character up to a usable state. There are of course potions, food, and higher levels of shiny equipment to help you along as you gain levels.
Equipment is banded into the categories – common, fine, superior, epic, and legendary. There is a basic crafting system that lets you take the various items of normal loot you pick up, and bind them into a better item of a higher level. Got 6 pairs of common pants you don’t need? Had them to the blacksmith, and he’ll give you a fine sword or shield (behold and fear my Sword Of Pants!) As you work through the levels, you’ll unlock more advanced ‘crafting’ allowing you to convert higher level items into epic or legendary gear (behold my Legendary Sword Of Pants!) You can also unlock the ability to enchant items later in the game (behold my Enchanted Legendary Sword of… you get the idea…) ;)
What’s rather nice about the game is the shortness of the levels. You can play through each one in 5 or 10 mins. And because all your info is stored online, and it’s browser based, it makes it the perfect game to boot up during a lunch break to relieve some work stress by hacking up a few bad guys!
Although the game does try an tempt you at every available opportunity to part with you ‘real world’ money and purchase ‘gems’ (the game’s ‘real world to virtual’ currency), you can have many a happy hour in game without it. However, the option is there, should you wish to show off to your friends with a flashy shield, or get a leg up to level faster.
Kings Road isn’t just a solo game. If you’ve got friends in game (you can play the game in Facebook, or connect it to your account too), you can play together, or just hit the ‘Find Party’ button, and go of questing with some friendly strangers. Grouping brings in better loot and more XP, so it’s worth doing.
Overall, Kings Road is a lot of fun, and an incredibly impressive achievement. A beautiful looking, free-to-play browser based game, which stands up well to any of the other ‘hack-n-slash’ RPGs out there. If you want to take a look for yourself, you can find Kings Road on Facebook here, or go to the Kings Road website to sign up.