Hardcore social games have been around for about two years now, but the mid-core sect (i.e. the fantasy-themed dungeon crawler) has seen an explosion as of late. Between hits like Dungeon Rampage and impressive contenders like The Grinns Tale, developer Rumble Entertainment's KingsRoad looks to crash an already crowded party. But if Zynga has taught us anything, that doesn't necessarily matter.
So, how exactly does KingsRoad plan to woo fans of the already-popular isometric fantasy RPGs on Facebook in providing much of the same play hooks? By looking damn fine doing it. After some time with the closed beta of KingsRoad, this orc-crushing romp doesn't feel terribly different from other games of its ilk. (Click baddies, watch them bleed, click loot, repeat.) But Rumble's first entry into social gaming is absolutely gorgeous. Before it's even available to the public, KingsRoad is already one of the most visually captivating Facebook games of this year.
However, looks that hot come with a price.
Regardless of how many Facebook gamers will actually get to see it, what KingsRoad does while looking so beautiful is fairly standard even as far as Facebook RPGs are concerned. Playing as either the Knight or the Archer, you click around your environments to move and dispatch enemies, sometimes with explosive abilities--coming down on an enemy with a sweeping sword blow is particularly satisfying--gained from an extensive if typical skill tree.
One element that sets KingsRoad apart from the competition is how it handles multiplayer. Whenever players are hanging out in the town Longford (or presumably whatever other town-like areas there are throughout the adventure), they can easily opt into a multiplayer game from a menu choice. After a few moments, players will be joined by up to two more random companions. From there, it's off to choosing a quest from the overworld map, a difficulty, and taking it to some monsters together in real time. In short, it's one of the most seamless multiplayer experiences in the genre yet.
For all of Rumble's technical and visual achievements in KingsRoad, the act of exploring and slaying various bad guys simply doesn't feel unique enough in a space that's already growing crowded with similar experiences. Of course, who knows when exactly KingsRoad will launch--for all we know, this is exactly the sort of thing Rumble is working on right now. But when KingsRoad opens its gates to the public, you'll want to rush in just to get a look at this rich, vibrant world.
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