King Lucas is 2.5D metroidvania style game which focuses on King Lucas and his quest. Does it does live up to its royal name or impales itself onto its own spikes, let’s find out:
Genre: 2.5D Platform Adventure
Release date: 1st of December, 2016
Type: Single-player, Online Multi-player
King Lucas puts you in the shoes of a brave knight who is appropriately named on your steam name. As he is travelling, he comes upon King Lucas who tells him to go into the castle and complete his quest. He gives you a hint that the rooms in the castle change places and there are a plethora of hostile creatures living inside the castle. King Lucas has a similar feel to Rogue Legacy in this regard. The castle is huge and is a joy to explore. In the middle of various rooms you come across interesting characters who are really humorous to talk to. Some of them are Blacksmiths and witches who give you new equipment and spells in exchange for gold while some are standing there to give you quests and just talk. I really liked the way the characters were varied in nature and everyone had something really interesting to say like the Witch’s affair with King Lucas.
King Lucas tries to mix metroidvania style gameplay with a roguelike element and fails miserably. There are various doors in the game which requires keys to unlock. You can buy the said keys at the witch’s store for 30 gold or find one, the latter one being really rare. The downfall to this is the fact that none of these locked doors are really worth the amount of gold you spend on a key. Most of the doors contain a small amount of gold or a shortcut which lets you skip a couple of dangerous rooms. As the doors are completely random, the necessity of opening each door is completely absent.
Another major flaw of King Lucas is its core gameplay. The movement is very clunky and slow which is frustrating as the game does not require much strategical thinking which would make you stop and think. I would have rather preferred an fully 2D game with faster movement and better controls. The combat is a place where King Lucas completely falls flat on its face. The size of the swords are surprisingly very small with the tips not even going past the body of the knight himself. Add this to the clunky movement and combat becomes a frustrating dance. The attacks feel like toys instead of looking like something which could damage something. They are incredibly floaty and loose. The weapons are also consumable as they break after a certain amount of usage is done. The spells though are okay and adds a bit of variety to the combat. There is a bit of customization available with your avatar but none of it actually changes how you look inside the game itself. What King Lucas does good is the level design of the different rooms. Since only the places of the rooms are changed, the levels feel handcrafted with each one offering a different sort of challenge than the previous one. The game is difficult but not on the levels of Rogue legacy. You can breeze through the levels since there are a lot of enemies who are seriously very easy to kill. King Lucas tries to do a lot of things at once but executes nearly all of them quite poorly.
King Lucas is a visual treat to the eyes. The overall aesthetic of the game is really good and the way the animations are handled is really top notch. The animations are fluid and the characters look like something out of a South Park episode. The castle itself is a joy to explore simply because how nice it looks. There are some minor annoyances like the sword attacks but those are just minor nitpicks in what is otherwise a really good looking game if you are into cartoonish graphics.
The sound design of King Lucas is excellent. With a melodious tune on which you can bob your head on, the soundtrack really compliments its gorgeous 3D environments. The way the sound changes from normal to muffled as you go underwater is also a neat little touch which just adds to the game’s overall design. There are no voice acting to speak of here and the other small things like the clanking of swords are fairly generic. Overall, King Lucas’s sound design is a nice little package which really adds to the environment of the game.
I have mixed feeling for King Lucas. On one hand, I utterly despise the clunky movement and bad melee combat but on the other hand, its dark humoured characters, pretty visuals and a good soundtrack makes me want to come back to the game. But good characters can only carry a game so far which doesn’t emphasise on the story. King Lucas is let down by its combat and movement and needs a lot of polish before it achieves something truly great. Till then, it will remain a pretty but frustrating game which is marred with various issues.
Note: There is a multiplayer mode available but I was not able to check it out due to the lack of people playing the game.