Spiral Knights

Steam added a few free games to the list this week, including Spiral Knights, a co-op RPG published by Sega but created by independant company Three Rings.  Three Rings have a rather interesting office, modelled after The Nautilus from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.. I can’t claim to know the book, but this still counts as an Awesome Office!

The Spiral Knights have been stranded on Cradle, an alien world, and need to work together to explore the Clockworks, the machine in the centre of the world.  This houses the dungeons, which are for 1 to 4 players, and contain a variety of enemies, puzzles, and minerals which can be collected to sell or craft better gear..

When you launch the game you’re first prompted to create your own cute little Knight with a choice from a small selection of helmet and body armour styles, which is customised a little by your choice of colour.. purple for me as usual 😉

You’re then sent through the tutorial, learning the basics at the Crash Site and going through to the Rescue Camp, where you first meet other players and learn about Cradle, the world itself, and take the elevator down to the training dungeon, Abandoned Depot.

As my friends were already in the main game, I joined a random group..

I think this is a fantastic inclusion, allowing a look at how dungeons would work in the main game.

Little communication was required.. it was all fairly simple with all players needing to be on the elevator to move between levels, and a variety of enemies dropping coins and ‘heat’, which are automatically shared between party members. After the dungeon was complete, the heat level of my equipped gear went up, though when I compared my sword with the sword of the same name from the merchant, I couldn’t see any improvement on the listed attack power and speed of the item.

In addition to heat, players also have energy.. you have up to 100 energy per day, which is used to enter dungeons, craft and purchase upgrades and to activate various devices.  Energy comes in two forms, Mist and Crystal Energy.  Mist Energy is replenished over the course of the day, but can also be refilled via rewards such as a Mist Tank, while Crystal energy is available via purchase from other players or with real money.

This means there is a limit to how much you can play without paying, which I think is fair enough.

After the training dungeon, there was one more dungeon, The Final Test, to get through before joining the main game and being able to play with friends.  This was still easy enough, with the addition of gates requiring keys or puzzles to be solved, such as placing statues on pressure plates or cogs which needed to be shot to allow the next gate to open.

Completing this dungeon brought me to Haven, the main area of the game with various different areas full of merchants, Strangers (Cradle’s natives), and the Arcade, where gates allow players into the Clockworks.

Here, I finally joined up with a friend, and we entered one of the easier dungeons together.  These were larger than the previous dungeons, with extra little rooms with treasure in them.. or hidden mobs!  Outside of the tutorial, I was also introduced to mineral gathering, with deposits hidden inside the dungeons.  As with the other loot, all minerals gathered are shared between party members, which removes the problem of fighting over it 🙂

After clearing the dungeon, the elevator allows you either to go back up to the Arcade, or down to the next dungeon.. we worked our way down a few levels meeting progressively harder enemies.. the zombies were fairly tough, taking a while to knock down.

The graveyard ended up being a bit too much for us as more and more enemies appeared! 🙂

When a player dies, a party member can revive them, or they can spend energy to revive themselves.  On dying, a player loses 30% of the heat they have gathered so far, and if a party member revives them, they gain that 30%.  This means that weaker players take longer to level up, while good players who are able to remain alive and revive others will level up more quickly. 🙂

The cost of reviving yourself also goes up with each death.. we had to quit after the cost of reviving ourselves was more than the amount of energy we had left.

As yet, I don’t have enough resources to craft anything, so that will come next time!

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