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Forest Knight – (Early Access)

About a month back, I wrote about a contest that was taking place across multiple games. This is a look at one of those games, Forest Knight, a free-to-play, turn-based strategy game for Android devices released by Chrono Games as a beta/early access in late 2019. Like the other games from this contest, it integrates with the Enjin blockchain to have items that exist as tokens on that network outside of the game.

When first starting the game you will need to either create an account, which can be done using your Google Play account, or sign in using a guest account. Since you may need to sync up with your Enjin account, or a wallet, potentially needing to create an account in the game makes sense. After that, you get a brief comic-style introduction, which really doesn’t explain anything about the game’s world.

The titular character, minus a space. This appears to be more a class description than a proper name, and the lack of spaces can also be seen on the ElfArcher.

This is followed by a few tutorial sequences where you are introduced to the basics of combat and the game’s interface. To try to quickly summarize the base game mechanics, you have a team of up to three heroes that fight against opponents on a 5 x 8 grid. You unlock heroes as you progress through the game, or you can pay gems to unlock them.

In addition to enemies, there are also environmental hazards and objects that break up the map.

From the four heroes that I have unlocked so far, it seems like each one can move up to 3 squares on the map and then attack. Heroes are either melee that can only attack adjacent squares or ranged that can attack a couple of squares away. Ranged units can also attack adjacent squares with no penalty, at least that I’ve noticed.

Each hero also has a unique special ability. Each time they attack, it charges up this ability. When fully charged, the ability can be used as an additional action as well as moving and performing a normal attack. From the screenshot above, you can see the Paladin’s special ability to summon shields above and below his position is only slightly charged, as indicated by the blue lines above and below the ability.

The Paladin’s ability is now fully charged, but not particularly useful in this encounter.

Each unit has health, indicated by the green and red bar that you can see over their head. The red indicates lost health, while the green indicates remaining health. When health is completely depleted that unit is removed from combat. There is no real penalty for losing a fight, other than the time put into it.

Level 11 is the first boss encounter in the campaign.

The main campaign is broken up into a series of fights across the campaign map, seen above. You need to complete each encounter in order, though you can repeat fights that you have already competed. You get a ranking of 1-3 stars for each fight, depending upon factors that seem to relate to how much damage your team has taken. Collecting enough stars will unlock a chest with additional rewards, though I have personally yet to do this.

Each encounter requires units of food be spent, which are indicated by the chicken drumstick at the top center of the screen. The other icons at the top are gold, which can be spent on items or as part of upgrading heroes; gems, which can be spent on items or new heroes; and runes, which are used to upgrade heroes.

You can see the cost and potential rewards for defeating an encounter before starting it.

Food regenerates over time at a rate of about 1 every 5 minutes, while gold and runes are found from encounters or daily quests. Gems are rare rewards, and can be purchased for real money. Runes do seem to be harder to come by than gold from my experience. There is a secondary combat area, the Mine, where you can fight to get additional gold or runes.

You get three attempts per day at the mines.

Heroe’s stats consist of health, defense, and attack. You can improve your heroe’s stats by upgrading their level, which costs an increasing amount of gold and runes, or by equipping them with items. Items can also be upgraded by combining multiple copies. The game does include a PVP arena, which I have not taken part in.

Overall, it’s a fairly simple strategy game with some loot grinding elements. Monetization is done through selling gems, quests, and hero costumes, so the game currently has no advertisements. The artwork is fairly simple, but this game is also developed by a small indie developer.

Fairly standard mobile game login bonuses and daily rewards.

There are two music tracks that I have found, one for combat and one for the rest of the game. They both have a medieval feel to them, with the non-combat one being slower and the combat one being more uptempo. The menu sound effects seem a bit off for the medieval theme, with more digital-sounding noises. The anime-inspired screaming the name of their special attack is probably the main redeeming feature of the sound.

The difficulty seems to still need a bit of tweaking. It was fairly easy up until the first boss, and even with lots of grinding older missions, that fight seems nearly impossible. The game’s early access status also shows through, as I ran into issues with being unable to return from the combat map to town without restarting the game.

The game is not officially released, so I won’t give it a hard rating. But, having been out for almost a year seems like sufficient time to have tightened up the game a bit more. Adding blockchain to a game doesn’t necessarily make it any more fun than similar titles with advertising or standard in-app purchasing.

I do appreciate that it is an independent project, but the developer doesn’t seem too active, compared to some other early access projects we’ve looked at recently. If you want to check out Forest Knight for yourself, it is available on the Google Play store here.

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