PC gaming fans who own an HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or some lesser known VR headset might be doing a double-take. Battle of Kings was released as an Early Access VR game in February. Because VR is still trying to gain a foothold on the market with entry prices as high as $400, the target audience is significantly more limited on PC than on console. While I personally do not know anyone with a VR headset for PC, I know three people who own PS VR.
With that in mind, developers Battle of Kings Team and Wenkly Studio have unconventionally doubled-down on their project. Usually, as is the case with a game such as Redout, a developer would release a base game, then patch in VR or attempt a re-release. These developers are taking the less-traveled path by making the VR version of the game available to the public first, though both editions of the game are being developed simultaneously.
Battle of Kings is a tower defense game, and I wish I could say more about it beyond that. If I am being completely honest, it strikes me as a game that might have been more appropriate for Android and iOS devices. The fact that each map in the three “campaign” islands rate player performance on a three-star scale as seen on Angry Birds is a dead giveaway.
Not only are the graphics tawdry, but the majority of the game’s features are nothing new. The character models for the medieval-themed units that run through the courses are so unremarkably plain, that I longed for 2002’s WarCraft III skins for the Human faction to add character. Peasants, archers, pikemen, footmen, cavalry, catapults, and shielded battering rams traverse down the lanes toward the castle, and one must build ballista, magical ice towers and canon. There are also special towers like a flamethrower and an acid tower that applies a damage modifier to the units passing under it.
Nothing really changes between the three campaign besides the skin of the terrain. Naturally, the difficulty increases over time, as Battle of Kings will throw more minions on the track than one can handle if the tower upgrades have not been maintained. However, this is nothing unique to a tower defense game and is to be expected.
The one wrinkle that I have not seen before is battle mode. In the campaign, this mode is the “boss” stage. Every round, one gains a certain amount of gold, and this is used either to send minions to the opponent’s castle, or shore up one’s own defense. The concept of balancing between offense and defense is not a foreign to strategy games, but the way that is implemented here in a “battle mode” is noteworthy. As, it is the primary way multiplayer is conducted, expect there to be a lot of tug-of-war in this turn-based mode. It is a lot harder than it looks. There have been times when I damaged the AI’s castle integrity down to 10% remaining only for it to run a whole horde through basically unscathed.
At the end of the day, Battle of Kings is a tower defense game. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that. Its appeal might have been VR, but with that gone, it is lacking je ne sais quoi. Defense GridAs of this moment, cannot think of any reasons why I would not rather spend my $10 on the first .