Rival Knights, the free action game that is bringing back the fun of horse jousting, was released on the Google Play store on June 4th 2014. The game is currently in version 1.0.0o and was developed by Gameloft. The games you, a knight, in a ladder style game in which you have to beat your way to the top and become the all-powerful knight. There really is no other story line to the game. They tried to put SOME story in it, it starts out as you, the no-name wannabe knight, entering the scene to defeat the best of the best. In the process you defeat the nobles, get the girl (of course, large chested), and become the best in the land. Remember the movie that starred Heath Ledger, Knight’s Tale? Ya, pretty much that. That’s about all the plot there is.
The style of the game is very comparable to racing games (of any style not just cars) on mobile devices. The typical match the arrow at the right moment by tapping the screen to get the max boost of speed, or change gears if it was a car. Luckily, that is not all you have to do or else it would be quite a boring jousting game. You also have to aim. Aiming requires you to drag your lance to aim at the weak point of the opponents armor. This changes every time you play against someone, so you can’t learn the weak points. It is actually quite a bit harder than it seems. As you can see from the picture on the right, you have to match the little dot on the end of your lance, to the little dot on the chest or head of your opponent. To win a match, you have to beat your opponent in 2 out of the 3 categories. The categories are Armor, Speed, and Power.
You raise your armor up by purchasing new helms and chest pieces or by upgrading the current ones you have. You purchase these items in the games store via gold or diamonds, both you get from winning or achievements. Like any other free to play game, there is also the option of buying your currency but it doesn’t get your any added benefits other than purchasing your items without having the money. Rival Knights combated the pay to win by making higher tiered items locked until you play through the campaign mode and beat certain checkpoints. I very much welcome this for the multiplayer side of things, in which I will get into later. To upgrade your speed, you can upgrade or buy a new horse.
Each horse has a different amount of capacity it can carry. The faster horses can carry fewer items, the slower you get more. So you have to decide what type of jouster you will be. A big slow hard-hitting jouster? Or a speedy needle pricking one. Or just as I did, a nice balance of all 3. Which leads us to the 3rd stat, power. Your power is your strength in which you hit your opponent at. The closer you are in your aim to the weak spot, the higher the power score is. You raise your power by upgrading or buying new lances in the store. With all 3 stats, and their 5 categories, you can upgrade the items only so much. Once they are upgraded to the max, you get what is called a charged item . This gives your item a 5 round boost to whatever stat your item is. These stats seem to only work in multiplayer though as I have not seen the round timer go down when I use it in single player. You can only upgrade 1 item at a time, and each upgrade takes X amount of seconds which raises as your gear gets better. You can of course skip the queue by using your diamonds.
So once you have all your gear how you want it, you have the option of playing single player and conquer the lands, or multiplayer by competing in the daily events or in a tournament. To play single player, you get what is called Royal Seals. They are the little red seals at the top of the screen. You start off with 6. That means you can only joust while you have one. You slowly regenerate your Royal Seals once one is used. This isn’t a new concept as many games have it. You can ask for more from your friends or refill it by diamonds. There are 8 different types of modes you play along the single player campaign.
- Encounter: A joust in the simplest form. Throw your opponent off their horse to win.
- Training: A place for training for little money
- King of the Hill: Win 3 times in a row, but if you lose, you have to start over.
- One Chance: You only have one chance to gain the reward. If you lose, it’s lost.
- Sponsored: The equipment you use is loaned, if you win, you unlock 1 item from it.
- Medal Dare: Beat your enemy AND do whatever the task is to gain the medal.
- Rising Stakes: Increasingly tougher opponents and higher rewards. You decide when to stop but if you lose, you lose it all
- Campaign (or Boss fight): A normal encounter except its best out of 3.
Multiplayer has 2 modes and they work the same way as Royal Seals except they don’t come out of your Royal Seals, they come out of your Social Seals. Those are the blue seals at the top of the page. The same rules apply to the Social Seals as they do to the Royal Seals. 1 per use, ask friends for more, and you can’t play while you don’t have any. The 2 game modes for multiplayer are;
- Championship: Fight people online to win. The more “Trumpets” you have, the higher you are in the standings and the better reward you will get.
- Echelon Tournament: Fight people online one-on-one in a classic tree structure. There is only one winner, and winner takes all.
Finally, the last bit of gameplay customization is the banner for your champion. You can create a banner to represent you and the neat thing about banners, is that certain emblems give buffs to certain items or stats. They follow the same unlocking ability as other items so it’s not to overpowered to start. They have things like 10% increase in upgrade times, 10% increase in perfect start rewards or 10% armor buff. I personally went with the 10% perfect start reward since it is really easy to do, and gets gold quicker.
For a mobile game, Rival Knights has very detailed graphics that actually look really good. Great animations and smooth texturing make the game look fantastic. As you can see from the pictures below, you can’t really get much better than this is a game out today. What is also nice, is that there is dynamic weather and time. Sometimes it’s raining, sometimes it’s night, sometimes it’s both, or just glaring sun sort of blinding you. It is random every time. Gameloft used the camera to make you feel like you are going faster by trailing it farther behind and adding blur effects. Overall the graphics are top notch.
The audio just completes the game. If you weren’t already wow’d by the graphics, the audio just adds that finishing touch to the game. While there is no voice acting, the sound effects of the horses and the clings and clangs of metal just put you into that medieval feel. There is also a very medieval sounding background ensemble in which just complements everything, and it isn’t annoying like most background music. There isn’t much more to go into on this as there isn’t any voice acting.
The game isn’t without its troubles though. On my first day of playing, I was playing an online championship and it said that there was 14 hours left in it. As I was playing, I go to play another game, and all of a sudden, the championship ended and I could no longer play in that match as it didn’t exist. I chalked it up as a one-off deal, but the same thing happened the next day. I did some research and found out other people were having the same problem. So be warned, you may spend all that time for nothing.
Secondly, as of version 1.0.0o, the game doesn’t seem to fully close. Even if you close it in app manager, it will still be there until you restart your device or uninstall. My friend is actually the one who brought this up to me and I once again did some research, and other’s have reported the same, but it is not on all devices. It worked on my Galaxy Note 3 but not on my friends SIII. So if your device has a small pool of RAM, be careful. It might be an older device problem.
The game is quite enjoyable. With the requirement of Seals, it means you can’t burn through the game in mere hours which is both nice and frustrating at the same time. The multiplayer side of things also makes it so the game doesn’t get stale as you can keep playing after you beat single player, and as a helpful hint, if you happened to read all the way to the end, is that you do not need to upgrade any item until you hit the 3rd boss. That’s when the game starts to get hard. Finally, The game is big. It was fairly small to download from the Google Play Store, but once you install the game, you have to download another 85mb file as you can see from the picture on the right. So be aware and unless you have a big data package, do it on WiFi.
Have you played it? What do you think? Leave a comment below!