Before we get in to this lets start with the fact I’ve never been a big fan of Minecraft or sandbox style games. With that in the past let me say it’s because of my friends and the Nintendo Switch that has peaked my interest in this style of games. So since I had the pleasure of playing Portal Knights with my good friend Tony he will be adding a blurb about his time with Portal Knights at the end as well. So lets get this Portal built and head on to our impressions.
Like many of us Switch Gamers we’ve been looking for the next big title to play with our friends and solo while on the go. Well we may just have a solution for you in Portal Knights. Portal Knights offers flexibility to play solo, couch co-op, as well as online with friends. Luckily I was blessed to be able to play couch, online and solo but, mainly I played solo getting used to this style of gaming.
Portal Knights is a great little Sandbox RPG with neat ideas, backed with the visuals of an upgraded Minecraft/Chibi feel. The beautiful thing about Portal Knights is not the art (although it is beautiful in its own right) but the Portal system that gives this title it’s name. As you enter this randomly generated world you’ll notice “doorways” that are missing blocks. These are the Portals to the next part of the world. This key mechanic keeps the game play fun and exciting. As you level up you’ll get to more Portals that lead to bigger and stronger areas which is always fun when you’re not positive whats waiting beyond the next Portal. The other mechanics of the game are pretty standard I believe for the typical Mincraft gamer but I will say it’s got a more “Mature” feel. As you navigate the menu’s you’ll encounter a Building Tab with several sub menus. This is where you may be required to have a workbench, anvil, forge or other needed work areas to upgrade or craft weapons, armor, healing potions and much more. One menu you will find that leads me to say it’s “Mature” is the Player upgrades Tab. This is where you level up your Character like many other great RPG’s. You can add extra Health, Strength, Charisma along with attributes that can be changed per occasion. Attributes could be 5% extra health for party members, increased speed, axe specialist, and countless others. These are just a small number of the reasons why I believe Portal Knights offers more of a Mature feel than I would expect from this game. As I spent hours leveling up my house, weapons, armor and generally just exploring I find that I’m running into the same issues I do with most other sandbox games. That is to say I spend countless time doing the same building, digging, and trying to find a story beat. Luckily with Portal Knights each randomly generated world does have a sense of life. Each planet this far has served a purpose to the people living on it OR having materials others need. This slight story beat is enough for me to feel like I’m on a real adventure and that I’m making my way in the right direction. However that is solo play this game is meant to be played with your friends and it does that well. I spent several hours and even a few random nights playing with a group of friends, socializing about our week, life, other games and interests and generally enjoying each others company while exploring this crazy world. This is where Portal Knights shines bright, socializing is not something that has been easy for the Switch and yet we were playing on the Switch I should say we were all in a Google Hangout call while playing. After countless hours and hopefully more to come I must say I’m very pleased with Portal Knights in the Social aspect it is a fun simple game to gather around and enjoy your friends while exploring new portals. So while I wouldn’t say it’s the perfect game I would say this is closer to what I’ve been wanting out of my Switch for co-ops than any other title for the console thus far. I highly recommend Portal Knights if you and your friends or family are looking for a co-op game that is exciting and fun to explore along with a good Solo play factor. It’s a beautifully put together game.
Tony: To date, I have had limited exposure to the minecraft, sandbox style game. With that background, I was unsure what to expect when I set off on my adventure in Portal Knights. Armed with a couple friends in Co-op mode we set off to explore the world of Portal Knights. Once we grasped the UI and controls, it became easy to lose track of the hours. Crafting feels like it has a purpose, and the addition of RPG elements was a welcome addition. The diverse worlds you visit through the portal system keeps the game feeling fresh, and the art style feels more cohesive than other games in the genre.
I have been waiting for a co-op adventure game to hit the switch that would allow my friends and I to really explore the social aspect of gaming on the switch. So far this has been the most promising example. While I look forward to seeing what comes next in the genre, I am happy to give more time to the Portal Knight experience.