Those who follow my posts know that I really enjoy the Vampire Survivors-like genre; they are a good way to pass the time and usually add some fun twists to the original formula with their unique mechanics.
This is why I had to check out Just King, a survivors game where you control a party of heroes, all tasked with protecting a defenseless member of royalty.
The player controls the party of four heroes with their mouse, while the king is responsible for the movement. There is more depth than it seems to this control scheme since bosses will constantly test your positioning and party composition.
The heroes can fill the roles of damage dealers, supports, and tanks, but the items let you build them in any way you want. If you feel like having a super-durable wizard or a tank that only specializes in damage, that’s totally fine.
Aside from roles, the heroes all have their own synergies, which can generate powerful passive abilities. The synergies are also important when ranking up your characters since you’ll have to use synergy tokens to unlock their item slots and upgrade them.
Just King‘s mechanics make it really similar to Dota Underlords and the Teamfight Tactics mode in League of Legends. The benefit of playing Just King is that you won’t have to touch a MOBA, which is always a plus in my book.
Just King is still in Early Access, but has a sizeable amount of content. It features 4 zones, 31 heroes, 117 items, and 13 synergies. Aside from the planned features, the game’s items are marked as “117/??” on its roadmap, meaning that the developer plans to expand upon them indefinitely.
I’ve been having a lot of fun testing out what works and what doesn’t. So far, I’ve been making sure my team always has a berserker and a cleric; they pair up tremendously well, and the berserker is an unkillable force of nature.
I’m still working out which tank and second damage dealer I’ll choose, but I’ll probably opt for a ranged character, either the wizard or archer, since their range and damage are both very good. The only unit I didn’t like so far was the imp.
The imp does lots of damage over time to enemies through a burn effect, but I haven’t been able to build him in such a way that he feels useful. He’s a bit too squishy, and his damage takes a long time to kick in, so I’ve been avoiding that specific unit.
Just King doesn’t follow the timer formula of the Vampire Survivors-likes, instead opting for wave-based encounters on each stage stage. The player can map out their path and choose whatever encounters, bosses, or elites they’ll go through.
The bosses can be quite brutal, and they are big DPS checks for your party. Their mechanics will involve all roles since they are tanky, deal a lot of damage, and summon a lot of enemies, meaning that you will need your party composition to be very tight.
Just King is definitely difficult, but it doesn’t feel unfair or annoying. The enemies are tough, but you are also given all the tools to make your characters super strong, so the opportunities go both ways; you just have to do your best with what you have.
You can watch me play some of Just King below:
My only issue with Just King is that the gamepad controls are pretty awful. This isn’t unheard of in Early Access games, since I faced similar problems with The Unliving, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Regardless of the controller issues, I have been enjoying my time with Just King. I think it’ll be a fantastic full release once it has all stages (and hopefully way more items). It’s a charming twist on the Vampire Survivors formula, and it has a pretty cute art style to boot.
Just King is available on Microsoft Windows (through Steam’s Early Access program).