By Kimari Rennis
There’s no doubt about it. Portal Knights is the newest entry to my “games I’m addicted to” list. Developed by Keen Games and published by 505, Portal Knights is a Minecraft-esque adventure role playing game. It’s chock full of of content, and more content continues to be added. Thankfully, it’s also been improved by updates.
Portal Knights provides clean graphics, polished textures, and gorgeous visual effects. As you travel from world to world through various portals, each world has its own hostile enemies, resources and materials. Discovering the world around you is key to progressing and helping your character become stronger. On specific 8-bit textured worlds you would see, embers and light float through the sky like stars, and during nightfall you see the silhouette and glowing element of a hostile Knight. I absolutely loved the cartoonish and pleasant design of the models used in the game such as the dragon in his lair. The design of all enemies and textures is its own aesthetic and makes Portal Knights colorful and easy on the eyes.
One major strength to Portal Knights would be the Minecraft-esque feel. Immediately when you begin, the game’s tools, blocks, and crafting give you a hint that players can build whatever they want. You can build yourself a castle to go along with your shiny armor, or you can build a massive farm to collect resin and craft a powerful bow in preparation for a boss fight. The possibilities seem endless. Portal Knights is more than just a 3D role-playing game.
Another strength would be choice of third person and first person views. This camera feature allows players to maneuver the camera and view the game in ways that suit your perspective. Players like me prefer to fight enemies in third person – just because I get to see more.
I recall playing this game at six in the morning before school, trying to find a yellow, well-hidden portal underground so I could find new materials. I’d have to get ready to school at seven, and I didn’t want to stop playing. I was immersed, learning the mechanics of Portal Knights, upgrading my archer, and exploring the world I created to find the required materials to make stronger weapons to keep up with the intimidating enemies. I was unbelievably ecstatic for the boss battles because of the music, giant enemies, and a change of strategy to get in some good hits. Portal Knights is awe-inspiring and full of potential.
But its potential isn’t yet fulfilled since changes and fixes must be done to improve the game. The game has no true flaws, but improvements and bug fixes added in future updates is what Portal Knights needs. Some suggestions would be a zoom feature or zoom button to look across the world. The ability to aim from afar without locking on would be very useful for the mage and archer class as well as make the game feel more natural. A simple button to manually save would be unbelievably convenient for players.
When Portal Knights is played offline all enemies and activities should stop when the pause button is pressed, instead of resuming. This feels weird to me. When I play offline in, say, Terraria, all enemies stop stalking on pause. That doesn’t happen in this game. Lastly, lighting is a huge issue. Torches emit more light in the player’s hand but not enough when placed in a holder in the environment. The same applies with fire weapons, fire enemies, and campfires. Being unable to see in a game where enemies can be around any corner in a dungeon is almost unbearable to me.
All in all, Portal Knights is a breathtaking and addictive game that still needs work. However, all of Portal Knights’ issues do not make the game unsuitable to play. It’s vibrant, entertaining and filled to the brim with content. I’m eager to see what the next update has in store for the new, curious fans.
Kimari Rennis is a New York Videogame Critics Circle intern, part of our ongoing partnership with the Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School.