Every good tale starts in a bar, with weary adventurers sat round a glowing fire recanting their stories of treasure, monstrous enemies and heroic deeds. And it’s from this noble starting point that Knights of the Drowned Table by RillyBoss Studios begins its escapade, with you grabbing a mug of the local ale to give to one of the three characters in the bar to hear – and relive – their tale. Whilst that initial premise sounds good what follows are tall tales that could do with more embellishment.
RillyBoss Studios has taken a novel approach to a fantasy based virtual reality (VR) adventure where you can select a level by joining a character at their table to hear them talk about what has happened to them. Upon giving them a refreshing beverage you’re then transported into their adventure, which is either a maze like dungeon, a snow filled castle or a sandy wasteland.
In whichever level has been chosen you can freely wander around using touchpad locomotion controls. A vignette appears to make movement more comfortable for players plus there are snap rotation features for those uncomfortable with roomscale turning. Other than that no other options are available for those that want to change the walk speed – there’s no running – or remove the vignette.
Movement really isn’t an issue unlike the combat at this current stage. This is your basic hack and slash principles where you can grab an axe or mace and just bludgeon a foe to death. Hit points erratically pop up – blows to the head seem to do the same damage as swiping at ankles – and the various weapons lying around don’t offer much in the way of changing your strategy. Shields can be picked up to offer some sort of defence against projectiles and there is a bow about if you want to keep your distance – most enemies will rush you so melee is the more default system.
As progress is made through each area the character continues to recite their tale, reminiscing about why they were there and invariably giving you a clue as what to do next. Unfortunately there are moments where a creature will suddenly appear and begin its attack, screaming away, and more importantly drowning out whatever the storyteller had to say. So if you missed it then tough luck.
Certainly at the moment Knights of the Drowned Table is a little rough and ready and as a single-player adventure offers only a slightly entertaining experience. Now there is a multiplayer/coop element that does help to improve things, bringing in a few mates – up to five in coop – scales the difficulty depending on how many are available so it can become more challenging if you don’t mind the constant swipe a few times to kill an enemy then move on gameplay. Knights of the Drowned Table is going to be one of those titles that needs Steam community input to help shape it in early access. If that happens then Knights of the Drowned Table maybe one to watch in 2018.