Game: Portal Knights
Developer: Keen Games
Publisher: 505 Games
Reviewed on: PS4 (Review code provided)
Simple, easy and colourful. These are main words I can use to sum up this game, a fun adventure perhaps targeted at a younger audience. However, despite this Portal Knights feels too familiar, like a title that has already been made but under a different alias.
Portal Knights has such an simple backstory to it; the world has been fractured into floating islands, locked apart from each other with portals. As you explore, you will restore the links between islands, and uncover the cause of the separation. It is not a deep story by any means. The way to get through to each island is by collecting blue shards of brick and crafting them together so you create a portal brick, and you need six to repair the portal in each island.
As you progress through the islands you will pick up lots of different items to craft different things. For example, you can pick up cotton plants to make cotton, then you can create clothing from the cotton. I do like this as it seems to be a clever little extra, not only do you craft the item you want but you harvest the materials that you need. I did enjoy some of the little side missions you get on each island. You will often meet another knight on the island and they ask if you can find them a pair of trousers (I know, bit random!), and then you need to find the items and craft it all together.
The game play is lovely and smooth; the colours in the game are vivid and bright, like you would expect to find in a fun kids party game, and this really makes everything in Portal Knights pop off the screen. There’s a real-time transition from day to night too, which gives a little edge to the game when you having a longer session playing. In addition, the smooth transitioning between portals is impressive and the loading times are nice and short, something I really appreciated and is especially important when aiming a game at a younger audience.
Now… I can’t help but think that I have played this game before, and then it hits me. It’s Minecraft all over again, just with a few differences such as the portals to different islands. The crafting, the building… it’s all very familiar. You just can’t play it and think it’s one of a kind because it really is not.
Aside from that, the main issue I have is that there is no real tutorial. There is nothing that explains why or how you are to do any of the actions. All you really need is something that is actually detailing why you’re doing this and how. At the start of your adventure it literally just tells you to create a ‘squire vest’, but there’s no hints guiding you to harvest cotton from cotton plants to begin with. A bit of explanation wouldn’t go amiss here it took me a good half an hour to work that out, and it was an infuriating half hour, which is a bad start when picking up a new game.
So to conclude, Portal Knights is just like a certain game that you have played before with only a few minor changes, and the tutorial is near enough non-existent. And why would you want to play a copy when you can play the real Minecraft on just about anything with a screen nowadays? Despite this, the gameplay itself works really well, though. Things move along nice and fluidly throughout the entire game, and the loading times are thankfully brief. But would I purchase this title? I’d have to say no, I probably wouldn’t. Overall, I felt disappointed with the lack of content and originality, and I feel this could have been much more with a little more attention devoted to it.