Portal Knights was released on Steam back in 2016 in early access. But now developer Keen Games and publisher 505 Games decided to launch it in full. Plus, they are bringing it over to Xbox One and PS4 so that the rest of us console gamers could join in the fun. And, my Portal Knights review (on Xbox One) was something I was certainly looking forward to.
There have been many minecraft clones over the years, none of which has have been as successful if successful at all. Is this simply just another attempt to cash in on the minecraft-esque genre, or is this one different?
In this review I will be discussing where this game takes you into a really fun game. But also let’s itself down at times. Feel free to leave a comment down below telling me your thoughts and opinions, and don’t forget to share with friends and other gamers!
Look and Feel
I jumped into this game on an Xbox One, and immediately I was hit with bright visuals and oversaturated colours. It’s a very cutesy game and visually appealing to look at. The first world you are transported to is a lush field with and abundance of flowers and trees.
The first few minutes I was just admiring how good it all looked. Sure, it’s no Witcher 3, but games like this have a graphical charm all their own. Playing through, I didn’t experience any framerate issues, however it did crash on me quite a few times and boot me to the dashboard.
This was a BIG hindrance as you can’t manually save your game. You have to rely on autosaves, so in restarting the game I had to hope that the last autosave wasn’t that far back. Hopefully this is patched.
The sound also cut out quite often, and the only sound that would play was the ambient music. The worlds are all floating, and blocks make different sounds when you’re mining/breaking them depending on if there’s any land still underneath them. So sometimes I would lose ore and other collectables to the void because I had no sound to warn me. The only fix that worked for me was restarting the game.
If these issues were fixed, the game would run perfect, as those were the only things holding the performance back.
Story and Gameplay
You are given a loose backstory to the world when you start a new game. Long ago, the world was whole, then there was an event called ‘The Fracture’ which tore the world apart. The only connection between these worlds are portals, which are waiting for the “heroes who will restore light to the portals, and reunite the peaceful realm”.
You start off by creating your character and what class you want to be (which can be changed at any time by simply equipping a different weapon). The models are blocky and have a childlike charm to them. There’s surprisingly a lot of customisation options to create your perfect character to… Or a monstrosity if you’re into that (they don’t have eyebrows, which is something that slightly bugged me for some reason. You just gotta have eyebrows).
Once you’re done, you name and choose the size of your universe. I went with small at first just to see what it was like, but I highly recommend having the larger sized universe. Once that’s done, you’re transported into your first world, which also serves as the tutorial world that teaches you all the basics of what you should know going forward. It also has a half built house that you can finish and customise to your liking. The goal of the game is to visit different worlds and activate all the portals in them to then visit the next worlds to activate the portals in them and… it gets quite repetitive.
You sometimes come across NPC’s in these worlds who have things to sell (like pets! I had a mouse I affectionately named Bimmy). Or quests to give, but they’re only fetch quests like ‘please find me a bow’ or ‘kill x amount of monsters’, and it’s not enough to keep you hooked when playing alone. It’s definitely a game that would be way more fun with friends.
If you’ve played Minecraft, then you already have a pretty good idea of how the game plays. Building and crafting plays a big part, killing monsters gets you ingredients and things you need to craft, and so on. You have your inventory, your quick slots, you can craft and use workbenches to craft better things…it’s basically the same, only prettier.
For combat though, you can press LT (or L2 if you’re a PlayStation user) to lock onto an enemy, and press A (or X on PlayStation) while you’re not attacking to perform a dodge roll. It’s commonplace in other games, but for a minecraft-esque game it’s certainly a nice addition. Mining and chopping down trees is also as you’d expect from Minecraft, with RT (or R2 for… oh you know) you can use your bare hands to get it done but using the right tools that you craft gets it done quicker.
Portal Knights is a fun game to play, though it can start to feel repetitive and get boring. Playing alone in short bursts can keep the experience alive, but I imagine that playing it online with other people is where the fun is really at, as shared experiences can really change how a game feels.
If you’re into games like Minecraft, or Terraria or other blocky world building exploration games, I say give this game a try, as it’s sure to scratch that itch. If you’re looking for a story driven game, then this definitely isn’t it, but it is still fun and I recommend it. Check out my scores below and don’t forget to leave me a comment if you like the look of Portal Knights or not.
About This Portal Knights Review
Game Reviewed: Portal Knights, Digital Download, Provided by Publisher
Review Format: Xbox One
PEGI Rating: 7