King Lucas is a medieval fantasy romp that takes place in a cursed castle full of evil beasties. It is your job to explore the ever-changing castle and save a number of characters along the way. Lucas doesn’t mess around, within a minute or two he gives you his quest and sends you into his not-so-humble abode. You’ll soon become very familiar with your map screen, showing all the rooms in the castle, a huge portion which are initially closed off for later in the game where the exploration area becomes much larger. The menus are functional and pretty, but somewhat clunky. This becomes increasingly apparent as you’ll need check where you are every other room or so. A problem which would be solved with a simple mini-map.
As you leap your way across lava pools and strike enemies down with your sword, you’ll come across numerous characters that have become seemingly forgotten by Lucas. The dialogue has an essence of delightfully dark humour, this acts as a nice break in-between jumping puzzles. Sometimes a locked door blocks your way, keys are scattered throughout the castle that let you open these doors. They can also be bought from the shop. However these locked doors don’t add much to the game, except keep you occupied. Most of them act as a shortcut allowing you to avoid a dangerous area where you might get hurt, or a passageway that leads to some money. They are very rarely worth opening, sometimes leading a pile of 10 gold pieces, which is utterly pointless considering a key costs 30 gold. The only time it’s utterly necessary to open these doors is when the goal character lies behind them. Further discouraging you to open doors in any other circumstance.
Once you have completed the goal, you are teleported outside the castle and given another character to save. Only this time a larger section of the castle opens up and all the previous rooms you explored are newly generated, you are also given a lump sum of gold to spend on new wares. Frustratingly however, almost all the items you can buy are consumable. Weapons break after you have used them a certain number of times and compasses that show you the direction of the goal run out after a minute or two. It doesn’t feel like you make much progress, nor is there much to be excited about except exploring more and more of the castle. The main character expresses his wish to leave to King Lucas with each quest he completes. Which is ironically a feeling that quite distinctly mimics myself as I progressed. All these complaints wouldn’t be much of a problem if the moment to moment gameplay was engaging, but it isn’t. The only interactions are moving, jumping and using your weapon. With movement being the weakest link, feeling slow and cumbersome.
The presentation on the other hand has a wonderful level of polish. Animations are smooth, characters are lovingly drawn with a nice soundtrack to go alongside. The castle has a wonderful atmosphere the music changing to a muffled tone if you go underwater. The mix of 2D characters and 3D environments are a nice touch too. It’s a shame the rest of the game needs fleshing out, Devilish Games have evidently gone for quantity over quality here in terms of gameplay.
There is also a multiplayer mode where you and three friends can explore the castle together. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try this as no one was online, and perhaps this is the real selling point for King Lucas considering how my experience felt very lacking. However almost any game can become entertaining when you play it with your friends.
Maybe this review comes off as being a little bit too harsh, because overall I’ve had some really good moments with King Lucas. With a little bit of refining King Lucas would leap from mediocre to being very memorable. Keep an eye on Devilish Games, if they learn from this game they’ll have some surely cracking titles in the future.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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