When games are inspired by others, they often fight to get out of their shadow. Portal Knights is a game that has two shadows to try to escape from, both Minecraft and Dark Souls. The question is, should it have to?
Portal Knights is a new cooperative action RPG game where you pick to be either a Warrior, Mage, or Ranger. You are then placed into the first level of the world, and taught the basics about harvesting for building, and of course fighting.
Straight away you’ll see that the game is a simplified version of Minecraft, but there are also elements of a simplified Dark Souls too. You are given recipes for blocks, clothing, weaponry, and upgrades. Each level of the game holds various ingredients that you must go harvest to allow you to improve your home and weapons.
To find these levels you must find portals which are activated by special blocks (which of course you must build from harvested elements you pick up by exploring). Each time you go to a new level, the monsters you discover are harder to fight and you must upgrade your armour and weaponry to be up to the battle.
While all of this is going on, a levelling-up system which gives your character the chance to add attributes to your statistics, as well as add buffs at certain set levels. So, the more you build, harvest, and battle, the more powerful you become. It is all fairly simple and most importantly fun.
What some people may not like is that it is similar to Minecraft but more simplified. It also has elements of Dark Souls, but again simplified. What I found though is what this provides is the ability to casually play the game at your own leisure, it also plays well for a younger audience.
Portal Knights is all about exploring, and while there are often times that the game starts to feel repetitious, if you enjoy exploring then there is enough in this game to keep dragging you in. One thing I found fun was that the fragmented islands that you have to explore have certain areas high up in the sky, and if you have the patience you can go exploring them too.
The real question is, what do you want from Portal Knights? If you want the harsh challenge of Dark Souls, then you won’t find it here. This game also isn’t trying to be Minecraft, though it is inspired by both games. What Portal Knights gives though is a more casual experience, and even a few interesting bosses to add to the mix.
Portal Knights is designed to either play with friends, or alone, if you want to be creative then you have that ability. Mostly, I found it to be a game where you can get lost in exploring. Whether it be tombs with skeletons and mummies, or even take to the skies to see what is up on that floating island. It is a game that provides you with a choice of what to do, and then lets you go and do it.
Sure, Portal Knights could offer a more inspired collection of recipes, could tighten up the combat system and offer more of a challenge, but no game is perfect. For what it is, the game offers plenty of fun and is well worth the £14.99 asking price. I know it’s a game I will keep on coming back to, to see what challenges are offered next.
Portal Knights is available on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One.