Knights & Dragons is a humorous, cartoony adventure/RPG game for the iPhone/iPad that has you building up a castle and taking on the demonic legions of the Dark prince, as well as other players from across the world. It’s free to play and well worth a try, although it’s a little light on interactivity.
You start with just one lonely knight, but very soon start to collect allies to take into battle. Customisation of your characters is basically limited to their appearance – sex, hair colour etc. and levelling up is also a simple case of clicking ‘okay’ and watching your stats climb. This makes Knights & Dragons accessible for RPG noobs, but fans of the genre might bemoan the lack of stat play.
Still, you get more control when it comes to building up your base and kitting out your dudes. The game’s mechanics are introduced gradually via quests so you don’t feel overwhelmed, but in no time you’ll be expanding your castle’s facilities and upgrading your armour and other bits, in between rucks. You’re rewarded with gold and other goodies for each quest you complete, so the more fights you win, the more cool items you can craft. You can also experiment with fusing armour together to give it special abilities, making your team tougher.
Battles are a basic turn-based affair, with little interactivity. Once a fight has started, you simply watch it play out, occasionally tapping the special attack button when your meter’s full to unleash a super sparkly attack. Your knights and the baddies will also only take each other on one-at-a-time, queuing up for a piece of the action, kind of like in a martial arts movie. We’d have preferred greater interactivity, as you can literally tap the ‘start’ button and then go away and make a cup of tea while the on-screen warriors battle it out. It also seems rather counter-intuitive that you can’t heal your heroes as they’re fighting, only when they’re all lying dead in a heap.
No worries if all of your squaddies get wiped out – just wait a few minutes until their health has recharged and you can jump straight back into the battle where you left off. You can also instantly recharge health between battles using crystals. This drains the tension from confrontations, but at least you don’t end up replaying big chunks of game.
One of Knights & Dragons’ strongest suits is its social features. At any time you can join the regularly-changing tournaments, doing battle with other players around the world to see how your team stacks up. Because of the limited interactivity of battles, the other player isn’t actually present – their team is simply controlled by the game’s AI. However, it’s still surprisingly entertaining getting revenge on other players who previously defeated you, and the overall tournament winners are celebrated at the end. You can also befriend other players and get their team leader to fight in your battles once a day.
RPG fans will likely balk at Knights & Dragons’ limited character creation, while battles could do with a workover to make them more involving. However, building up your castle is entertaining, as is crafting and combining armour, and the social features are well implemented.