For the King is an RPG adventure game that combines elements of Dungeons & Dragons and a tabletop game. The game allows you to control up to 3 characters, that you can split between you and your friends. I will go over the single-player campaign for the review as the gameplay will remain the same. You can also host your room online, so you can let others playing the game join you as well. This rogue-like game has multiple maps you can try out, but I will only talk about the beginning map, For the King, which acts as the original campaign for new players.
The game was developed by IronOak Games, which raised over $130,000 in their Kickstarter campaign for the game in 2015.
The King has been Murdered
The story of the game is simple. The king has just been murdered and you and your band of adventurers have been tasked by the Queen to find his murderer and avenge his death. Throughout your adventures, you must fight powerful enemies called Scourges and clear your way through dungeons as you complete quests.
The game features turn-based combat as you journey through a world full of surprises and danger. Every turn, you will move your characters a certain number of spaces according to what they roll at the beginning of their turn. You can move your character until you run out of action points. This will allow you to explore the different events on the board in one turn. Once all the characters have moved, a new day will begin, and you will get the chance to move again. Enemies within the game do not move on the board, but will appear and disappear depending on the time of day. Some enemies will even ambush your party if you move to a certain space!
You will have to use a variety of skills and items to help you explore the map and help your teammate in battle. Each map is randomly generated, ensuring you will have a different play-through experience every time. The events you get in the game will be different each time as well. Although the map and events are different, the objectives and main quest remain the same.
The events and battles will require you to roll a certain number of actions based on your stats. If you don’t get a perfect roll, you will deal less damage in battle and can activate a deadly event on the map. It is partially based on chance as you won’t always get the perfect roll even if you have a high stat in that category. In case you want to boost up your odds, the game allows you to boost your chances by using a Focus Point.
A Focus Point will ensure you will get one successful roll in your action. It does not guarantee you will get a perfect roll if there are more than one slots. However, you can use multiple Focus Points to increase your odds. Each character will begin with 2-4 Max Focus, depending on the class. You can increase their capacity by equipping certain armors or by completing various events on the map. Focus is an important mechanic in the game. It is not only helpful in combat, but will allow you to have better odds of fleeing or defending against a powerful enemy. There are many ways to regain your Focus. For example, you can choose to heal them at the towns for a fee or go to Monuments and Sanctums on the map.
Tips & Tricks
The game is known to be increasingly difficult as you progress within the main story. There is even a warning on the loading screen where it states it will take you a couple of tries before you can beat the game. As you progress within the game, enemies will get tougher to beat and items & healing in towns will get more expensive. Unprepared adventurers will meet their doom if they don’t take the necessary steps in the beginning to prepare. Here are some tips and tricks I found helpful while playing:
- Buy as much Godsbeard in the early game as you can. This is the healing item within the game that you can use to restore your health on the map and inside of battles.
- Find a weapon or armor that has the ability, Party Heal. This ability will allow one character to heal the entire party when they use their Godsbeard. This will save you on resources as one character can store all of the Godsbeard and heal the entire party.
- Upgrade your pipe. You can buy a pipe inside the town store. These pipes will enhance the effects of some of the items in the game. For example, it will increase the amount of health healed by using the Godsbeard. They can be pretty expensive to obtain, especially for all the party members. I recommend upgrading only the final level of the pipe for the character that has Party Heal.
- Don’t waste your Focus. I recommend waiting for the events or leveling up to restore your Focus.
- Unmoved spaces on the map will allow you to heal your characters for free!
- Enemies within the game will curse and debuff your character. Make sure your characters are either immune or you are stocked up on items that can heal. These ailments and curses can be a pain to deal with during battle, but will often disappear after the battle is over. However, curses will last on the character until it is removed.
The world of Fahrul is made up of different Hexes the player can explore. They are the spaces your characters can move to on the map, and can be represented by 5 categories:
- Player Made Hexes
- Land Hexes
- Location Hexes
- Encounter Hexes
- Miscellaneous Hexes
Some of these Hexes are deadly to the character, while others will aid you in your journey. Make sure you are constantly aware of what is around you!
Player Made Hexes are the portals and campsites you can make with your character. Portals are useful to travel long distances across the map, while the campsite can heal and restore your Focus for free. Both of these require certain items to trigger.
Land Hexes are the terrain in the game that your character can move to and will not trigger an event.
Encounter Hexes are random events that will appear when you explore the map. There are many types of encounters and they will often ask you to test a different skill. These challenges will require a character that is good at a certain stat, but will often reward you with an item or heal you. However, failing these challenges will cause your character to be damaged or result in a status debuff.
Location Hexes are the towns, ports, Sanctums, Hero statues, and Scourges.
Miscellaneous Hexes include the corrupted plots where your character will be poisoned, cursed, or experience a random debuff when they land on it. It is best to avoid these unless your character is immune to the status conditions.
As a new player, the game may overwhelm you at first. The game mechanics and battle system can be tricky to master. To start with, you must pick three characters to go on your quest together. You will only have four available classes at the beginning: Blacksmith, Hunter, Scholar, and Minstrel. More classes can be unlocked at the Lore Shop, but I will primarily use these classes in my run-through of the game. Each class has its own set of weaknesses and strengths. For example, the Blacksmith class can hit the enemy for a lot of damage, but he can be very slow in battle and will usually be the last one to attack. On the other hand, the Hunter is very fast, but lacks the physical strength to use heavy weapons.
The characters within the game have various stats that govern all of their actions and abilities within the game. There are a lot of stat checks within the game that will prevent you from performing certain actions if you fail. Each class will also have a different stats distribution. Like all D&D campaigns, character stats are vital to the success of accomplishing different objectives within the game.
List of Stats:
|Strength||Represents a character’s physical abilities. Used for physical challenges like using a blunt weapon or a power test.|
|Viability||Represents a character’s health and endurance. This stat influences the character’s HP. Useful to test one’s stamina.|
|Intelligence||Represents a character’s mental strength and magic accuracy. This stat impacts the use of certain scrolls and solving puzzles within the map.|
|Awareness||Represents how alert the character is to their surroundings. Affects accuracy with polearms and bows. Used in sneaking past enemies and helps prevent a character from being ambushed.|
|Talent||Represents a character’s natural aptitude. Affects the accuracy of musical instrument and guns. Will allow characters to disarm traps more effectively. Also used to determine their travel speed while at sea.|
|Speed||Represents how efficiently a character can move. Affects movement points, attack speed, evasion, and more.|
|Luck||This is a hidden stat in the game. Influences gambling odds and how often the character will encounter events within the map.|
|Armor||Reduces the amount of physical damage a character can take. Can be raised with equipment or by using a skill.|
|Resistance||Reduces the amount of magical damage a character can take.|
|Evasion||Represents how easily a character can dodge an attack. The higher this stat, the more frequent a character can dodge an enemy’s attack.|
Buffs, debuffs, displacements, and ailments are temporary conditions that can negatively or positively affect your character during the campaign. Most status conditions will only affect the characters during the battle, but some will remain until you heal them. A lot of the enemies will have status-inflicting moves that can be annoying to deal with unless you are immune to them. You can become immune to certain aliments through a Sanctum or equipping your character with certain types of equipment.
Chao & Life
Chao represents the overall difficulty of your current world and is represented by the Chao Meter on the top of the screen. At the start of the game, you will have zero Chao, but they will start to increase as you progress throughout the days in the game. Increasing the Chao level will add more enemies to the map and will make it harder to navigate as you will encounter more obstacles. The enemies’ health will also increase based on the Chao level as well. This increase will range from 5% to 20%, depending on the level of Chao in the world. You can only have a max of 3 Chaos in your world.
It is important to reduce the Chao level as much as possible, so you will have a smoother run. You can reduce the Chao by:
- Finding a Cult Device and destroying it.
- Finishing a side quest in town.
- Disabling a Chaos Generators. One of the choices will allow you to reduce the Chao Level.
- Playing the Chaos Carousel
Chaos will still be reduced even if there are not Chaos present on the timeline.
When a character dies in the game, Chao is not increased. However, it will take a life from the player’s life pool. Your life pool represents how many times your characters can be revived after they meet an untimely end.
If all life in the pool is depleted or you are unable to revive your characters, the quest will fail and you will get a game over. The game does not hold your hand and expect you to pass its challenges. As you progress within the world, the challenges will become more difficult, even without a Chaos level.
Once a character dies, you may revive them with another character on the map. If they died in a battle with you, you can use up a turn to revive them. If they died alone during a fight, you must face and defeat the enemy before you can revive them. They may also choose to revive in a town in exchange for some EXP points.
The timeline is located on the top bar and will determine the order of actions and events. New enemies and events will spawn in, depending on if it is night or day. Certain events can only be activated at night as well, such as the night market. You will want to strategically move your characters so each day is not wasted. As the day progresses, the timeline will show when the Chao Level will raise or when a Scourge will awaken. Keep track of these events to ensure a smooth run.
Chaos Generators & Cult Device Selection
Cult Devices can be found in many parts of the map, while the Chaos Generators can be found after clearing a dungeon. The Cult Device will test one of your core stats and will be destroyed once you pass the stat check. If you fail the stats check, you will take damage depending on the number of rolls you got. If you successfully clear a Chaos Generators or Cult Device, you will be reward with one of the following options:
- Gain 1 Life in your Life Pool.
- Reduce Chaos Meter by 1.
- Destroy an incoming Scourge.
I recommend reducing the Chaos as much as possible. Adding to the Life pool is also important, in case one of your characters dies in combat. Scourges can be defeated and can earn you some powerful equipment for you to use. Don’t destroy them unless you can’t reach them before they awaken.
Chaos Level > Life Pool > Scourges
Scourges are special bosses within the game that are more difficult than the other monsters within the game. They are usually dormant on the map until the timeline awakens them. You must find and destroy the Scourges before they are awakened. Once they are awakened, they will impact the world around you and make clearing it harder. For example, some may raise the shop prices or mess with your rolls. Defeating them will earn you Lore Points or unique loot. They can usually be found and destroyed, but can be destroyed with a Cult Device or Chaos Generator if you are unable to reach them before they awaken.
Rewards & the Lore Shop
Although you won’t beat the game on the first try, you can earn lore that you can use at the Lore Shop. Lore is a form of currency and can only be collected through the campaigns. You can exchange Lore to unlock new classes, weapons, and events on the map. Many of these items can be expensive and will require multiple playthroughs to unlock all the items.
Pros and Cons
|Unique classes that each offer a different playstyle||Harsh difficulty that can be unforgiving at times|
|The campaigns can take hours and will be different every time||Struggle to farm Lore Points|
|Many modes and maps to choose from||Different events will spawn each campaign and are completely random|
For the King is not like every turn-based strategy game. It blends many different genres together from rogue-like games to JRPG combat. The game is known to be incredibly difficult as it may take multiple campaigns for a player to successfully beat the original campaign. Each campaign can spawn hours of gameplay and will offer the player a different map and events every single time. Players must use their cunning skills to survive each battle and survive the brutal land of Fahrul.
Story: ★★★★ 3/5
The story is fairly simple with the campaign map. However, it is combined with amazing game mechanics and lore that make up for the simple storyline. I only played one map so far, so the game has a lot of room to grow.
Visual & Audio: ★★★★ 3/5
The visuals are made up of 3D models that can make or break the game for it. It will take some time to get used to some of the character models as they can be low quality. However, the game does have a charm to it, and the characters nicely make up the world. The audio does have some nice tracks to it, but most of the sound effects do get annoying after many hours of playing the game.
Game Mechanics:: ★★★★★ 5/5
For the King offers complex game mechanics, and it is up to the players to understand each one. The game does offer an in-game tutorial, but it leaves it up to mostly the player to figure things out as they explore the land. The combat system is both rewarding and stressful, as a wrong move may spell death for your character.
Enjoyability: ★★★★★ 5/5
I enjoyed playing For the King in my downtime. However, I haven’t managed to successfully defeat the original map yet. Each campaign, I learn something new and useful that will help me be better equipped for the next time I play.
Overall Rating: 16/20
Developers: IronOak Game
These sites will also help you learn more about the game and guide you along your journey: