For the King II Review – DND without needing friends

For The King II

Over the last two years, we have kept a close eye out diligently looking for any news on For the King II. In 2022, we had the opportunity to meet with Curve Games to preview some of their upcoming game; during that meeting, we were shown From SpacePatch Quest, For the King IIBlooming Business, and Among Ripples: Shallow Waters. With most of the games being well-received, we expected that For the King II would be among fan favorites. Now, after spending some time with the game, we can share with you our For the King II review.

For the King II
Developer: IronOak Games
Publisher: Curve Games
Platforms: Steam
Release Date: November 2, 2023
Players: Single Player, Online Co-op
Price: $24.99 

Gameplay

For the King II starts by letting players get to select the special rules they want each chapter to have; these special rules affect the life pool, loadout points, chaos speed, and market inflation. Once the game settings have been chosen, players then get to select the classes that they want in their party. Each character has their own special skill stats that they want to prioritize but players have the ability to defer from the norms and build their characters however they want, even if it’s disadvantageous. Once players have selected their character, they can customize the characters’ looks and then pick their starting gear; the loadout points the player has to use to select their starting gear are determined based on the game’s setting decisions.


Like any other fantasy turn-based RPG, the game’s story starts with a mundane quest. This mundane quest leads our group of weak heroes to the overarching plot of the chapter. Each time you start a new chapter, your character’s levels and gear do not carry over. What the game doesn’t tell you is the importance of fighting monsters in the surrounding area, grinding for resources, and how to balance your party’s loadout.

 

The game follows the true RPG aspect that you need to truly grind out your party’s experience without outright stating it. In fact, the game discusses resurrecting a party member from death, whom it forcefully kills, rather than showing how the leveling system works. The core aspect of the game is discovery. As you progress through the game, you will learn more about what does and doesn’t work. During our playthrough, we accidentally learned that we could spend focus to pass skill checks or making certain that an attack would hit.

Like any good RPG, For the King II focuses on allowing players to discover their own way; the game will give an indicator of where the party needs to go without showing them exactly where. As the player explores the map, mystery titles reveal new objects and the clouds hiding the map’s terrain, part and reveal more of the map. The game does feature items that cast away clouds in proximity to the player making it easier to find their objective; those items can be found either in the wild or can be purchased at select shops.

As turns progress, the chaos meter moves closer; as chaos encroaches, more enemies will spawn throughout the map meaning potentially more dangerous encounters or ambushes. Players can reduce the chaos by completing special quests or finding resistance fights. Reducing the chaos makes it easier to complete quests and can sometimes stop negative effects.

For the King II OVERWORLD

Discoverability & Improvisation.

The game offers players a wide variety of options to discover things throughout the map. Players can use scrolls to remove cloud cover and teleportation scrolls to move to a visible space; the game features a character whose ability reveals significant spots throughout the map. Each run in the game offers a new randomized board; a location or statue that you found in a previous playthrough may not spawn in the same area or maybe on the opposite side of the map. The game also offers portals that allow players to teleport between locations once they have been discovered.

For the King 2 offers a truly randomized experience but at times this can be problematic. Some quests can rely solely on luck. One said quest is when you are looking for the Tavern Keeper’s Husband, sometimes, he can be found in a few rounds other times it can take an hour +. Having assistance tools for those occasions would be extremely helpful to players even if it is offered at a price.

As you are exploring the area, you can use the character’s focus to move additional squares or pass skill checks. Passing a skill check can potentially mean life or death. During each chapter, players can alter their character’s builds if they are not finding the items they need; no character is locked exclusively into a specific role. At the end of the day, it is more important to find items that each player can use and what they are most comfortable with.

Another key factor that can modify the run is the items’ availability. Earlier we talked about how players get to choose their loadouts at the start of each chapter; the load-outs can be altered based on who is in your game and what they have unlocked from the Lorestore. The Lorestore can unlock characters, weapons, items, and even bonus traits.

For the King II - Landboat

Matchmaking & Partying Up

Playing the game solo is possible but it can get tiring quickly; once you start to lose interest or zone out, it is easy to have your party wiped and you will be required to start all over again. A good way to get around this and remain focused is by finding a party to play with; the only problem with this is trying to find a group within the game. When searching in matchmaking, most of the lobbies are locked behind passwords. Iron OakGames has a workaround by letting players search for potential party members in their Discord but this is an external workaround vs actual matchmaking.

Now, this is fine when it works out, but you can’t always find a way to make it work out. When looking for a group through Discord, it took us multiple days to find a party to complete a chapter with. Most of that time was spent looking for people and redoing the same chapter over and over again. This very easily grew old and disheartening. If you have a group to play with, you should be fine.

Bugs & Issues

For the King II is great for those who want a simulated tabletop experience. Throughout our time with the game, there were a few things that we had noticeable issues with. The first aggravating issue we came across within the game was that you could not buy back items we sold. On a few occasions, we accidentally sold an item that we didn’t intend to and that caused us to be without an important item.

Second, the inability to save progress and go back to a previous save if you die. Yes, this is nit-picky, but not all players have the time to replay a chapter repeatedly; offering a variety of difficulties would improve the game’s replayability. This applies to the game’s death debuff as well. The game does not clearly indicate that players will have debuffs whenever their character dies; this can be resolved by healing with certain items (Firesilk) but can be rather impactful.

Third, the game’s chat menu is in a weird location and can block certain prompts and interactions while playing. On top of blocking certain menus, the chat will clear out the text at times when you are mid-typing.

Probably the biggest issue with For the King II is the amount of bugs that we encountered. The most common bugs we encountered were item displays blocking character menus and the game soft soft-locking. When the game would soft lock, the party would not be able to progress. On certain runs, this meant that the party would die or be unable to move. This sometimes could be resolved by having a party disconnect; on other occasions, we would have to close out the session entirely.

For the King II treasure

Verdict

For the King II has the potential to be a great tabletop-like RPG. At the moment, the biggest things holding the game back are its bugs, matchmaking, and lack of game difficulties. The game’s biggest positives are the ability to have each character flex into a different playstyle, four-play co-op, and the story. With the different bugs we have encountered, we think that For the King II would have benefited from Steam’s Early Access program. Thankfully, it seems that the developers are actively working on bug fixes so it has improved over the last month.

Without previously playing the first For the King, we have no frame of reference to what has changed outside of reading about the mechanics’ update. Ultimately, For the King II looks to create an experience like Dungeons and Dragons without needing other players to do so; yes, the game is a lot more fun with friends or other players, but it is not necessary. If you are a fan of tabletop games or RPGs then, For the King II is definitely a game to consider adding to your wishlist. Yes, it does have some issues, but over time, these issues should be fixed.

For $24.99, it is worth checking out For the King II and potentially picking up. At the moment, FTK 2 is only available on PC; it would be great if the game was available to play on Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch and even better if it had cross-platform capability.

For the King II was reviewed on Steam (PC) using a copy provided by Curve Games. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. For the King II launched on November 2nd, 2023, on Steam.

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The Verdict: 8

The Good

  • Can play solo or with 3 other players
  • A fun fantasy story
  • Variety of Weapons and enemies
  • Characters can flex roles based on item RNG and playstyle
  • Can Customize each chapter's settings

The Bad

  • Matchmaking is hard to work with.
  • Variety of bugs that will soft lock the game or make playing annoying.
  • RNG can make quests hard to complete
  • No voice chat
  • Characters restart at the start of each chapter

About

Hardcore gaming enthusiast, cosplayer, streamer, Tall Anime lover (6ft 9), and a die-hard competitor. I have been a Pop-Culture Journalist since 2011 specializing in shooters, Pokemon, and RPGs.


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