by Preston Dozsa
reviewed on PC
Falling in love
The moment I fell in love with King Arthur’s Gold is a moment that I have never been able to repeat, and likely never will. My team, red, was at the gates of the blue team’s home base for nearly 20 minutes, stuck in a stalemate that never seemed to go anywhere. The blue team had constructed a massive tower, complete with spikes and platforms for archers that made it impossible to ascend. To make matters worse, it was on the edge of a lake, meaning there was no easy way for us to dig under their tower and attack from behind. I was at a loss as to how we would be able to win, until someone had the bright idea to construct a boat.
It wasn’t just any boat mind you, for it was a war boat designed for ramming enemy fortifications that could also double as a spawn point. I, along with 12 others, hopped on the boat, and sailed towards the enemy stronghold. Arrows bounced off the hull, and someone was in the proper mind to shout “RAMMING SPEED!” through chat as we slammed into the base of the tower. It collapsed with one blow, and it killed around 20 people, defenders and boat people alike, in the ensuing chaos. But it didn’t matter, for within the next minute my team stormed into the enemy’s last stronghold and secured victory.
I encountered several similar moments throughout King Arthur’s Gold, each different from the last. Yet they all had one quality in common: insanely ridiculous action. And that is what this great multiplayer experience is really about.
King Arthur’s Gold is a two-dimensional side scrolling multiplayer game that pits two teams of 16 players against each other across several game modes. While each game mode differs in terms of goals, they all focus around building fortifications in your teams base and assaulting your opponents in return. The three classes that one can choose from and switch between at any point in the game are the knight, who focuses on stabbing and slicing the life and limbs out of his opponents; the archer, who has a wide variety of arrows for any situation alongside a handy-dandy grappling hook for climbing; and the builder, who can harvest resources and build epic structures that will make medieval castle designers blush upon first glance.
All kinds of crazy
Each class works well in most situations. Knights are for when you feel like suicide bombing an enemy’s front gate, or want to not die as often as everyone else. Archers are for when you get tired of dying as a knight and want to rain death on whatever patch of ground takes your fancy. And builders, my personal favorite, are when you want to bugger off and construct elaborate traps and structures that someone will hopefully appreciate one day. It’s a healthy trio that allows for one to never get too bored, as you could just as easily change your style at a moment's notice.
As a general rule in multiplayer games, I tend to like it when there is a certain order to how the game operates. Objective is to kill the enemy team? I’ll grab a rifle, walk forward and start shooting. King Arthur’s Gold is an exception to that, in more ways than one. While a match will always start with some semblance of planning in effect, within five minutes utter chaos will descend upon the map. Suddenly the enemy is digging a tunnel under your capture point, and you forgot to place spikes around the pit of death you just constructed. Your teammates are imitating kamikaze pilots as they march to set off bombs at the enemy gates, and the catapult someone just constructed has just fallen over and killed a builder. And to top it off, you just discovered that not only do sharks exist in the water and that they can eat you, but they can also be ridden like a horse at the rodeo.
The amount of crazy that occurs in any given match never ceases to produce laughter and keep me entertained. Seriously, I discovered shark riding on accident. The simplicity of the game, combined with the number of possibilities that can be exploited, make for one hell of an entertaining ride.
That’s not to say that there are not any problems with King Arthur’s Gold. There is a singleplayer mode included within the game, along with a genuinely helpful tutorial that brings you up to basics quickly. The singleplayer is bland as a whole, lacking any of the chaos that is present throughout the game’s multiplayer portion. The AI is a pain, mostly because the archers have a godlike aim to them and the constant pursuit by them does not help ease the pain in singleplayer. In fact, one could skip out on the singleplayer portion entirely and not miss out on a single important concept that is necessary to know for the multiplayer.
And this may be minor nitpicking, but there are several bugs that are found in multiplayer that I have come across several times. For one, I occasionally was unable to respawn after dying, forcing myself to disconnect and rejoin a server to gain the function back again. And after several matches, I and several others I was playing with had to leave a server because the game was convinced that the new match would not start for half an hour. These were not isolated instances, and whether these glitches will be present for long remains to be seen.
The best multiplayer game of 2013?
But I digress, for those bugs do not take away from my overall impression of King Arthur’s Gold, which is a great multiplayer game that stands out from the crowd by being something that embraces lunacy and remains grounded with simple mechanics that allow for a variety of strategies. In fact, it might well be the best multiplayer game of 2013. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a boat to launch and a tower that needs collapsing.
Wonderfully chaotic, great mechanics, very fun multiplayer
Poor singleplayer, minor technical glitches