The King of the World

cover

Spoilers ahoy. I recommend you play this game before you read this review.

King of the World is a choice based game. I’ve played it three times now – each play through took about 20 minutes or so. This is high fantasy in the classic sense. A young boy, Andras, through the course of the narrative undertakes trials and battles to become the titular King of the World.

It’s a dangerous thing, the author has done here. The first chapter is a long narrative, progressed through the repeated clicking of Continue. There is one choice. To be Cruel or Kind – it’s not immediately apparent what impact this has (and it does) – but then the chapter continues along its linear path. It would be easy, I feel, to give up on the game at this point, thinking that it’s far too linear. That, though, would be a shame, as the other chapters are much more interactive.

In addition, while the prose is ok, there are multiple point of view shifts in the first chapter. I quickly lost track of who was talking and what was going on and had to restart a couple of times – I’d suggest to the author having some way of the player discerning whose head we’re in – colors, fonts, even images – the tools are there and other choice games do this successfully.

Structurally, the game is split into 4 chapters, each with a very different interaction mechanic. Some more successful than others. Chapter 2 has the protagonist marching his army to war and the decisions the player makes are reflected in key statistics that decide whether the battle is won or lost. Chapter 3 is a dungeon crawl – a mazelike dungeon that provides a magical resolution to aid you in winning the second battle. Unfortunately chapter 4 is back to being very linear BUT the author has taken into account the choices made in previous chapters to provide alternative ending text. That was nicely done.

Of the various mechanisms, for me, chapter 2 – the management of the key stats was the most effective. The decisions made here felt like real agency and the results of various actions were sensible. Chapter 3 on the other hand was something of a slog. It would have been nice to see this expanded to vary the room descriptions to make navigation easier.

On the whole, the implementation was strong – I didn’t encounter any issues. Kudos to the author for varying the mechanics and making a more interesting playing experience, as well as binding the choices made into a constructed finale. But the linearity of the first and last chapters, the lack of implementation of the maze and the slight prose may need some more work. 4/10

 

 

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