Review King of Thieves
A great game ruined by free-to-play mechanics
Author: Brandon Girod
Date: 08 Mar 2015, tested on HTC One M8
Features a really fun gameplay mechanic unique to the mobile platform, charming graphics
You can only play 2-3 levels before needing to purchase new keys or waiting, gameplay revolves around in-app purchases
For a very finite amount of time there was a genre of PC games coming out that allowed you to build up a base where you would house some goods. You wanted to make sure that your base was well protected because players would be able to raid it and steal all of your gear. Alternatively, you’d be raiding other players in order to gain resources to build a better base. King of Thieves for Android is a game that takes this idea and adopts it to the mobile platform.
There are a ton of things I really love about this game that are ultimately killed by their free-to-play implementations -- namely, the fact that you have an incredibly limited of resources to play with.
The game starts you off with a quick but butchered tutorial. Every action it shows you pauses right before you actually perform the action and you must tap the screen for the game to automatically perform it for you. So, it explains what you have to do, but the execution is so clumsy that it’s actually a bit counter intuitive.
You play as this characterless blob that always runs forward. You’ll be wall jumping as the major move mechanic, which adds a lot of difficulty to the gameplay when you’re trying to dodge enemies, projectiles, and saws.
Progressing through the game requires you to play through pre-made bases although you can always attack another player’s base at pretty much anytime. All of this is fine and dandy, but the game is almost killed because you need keys in order to play a level. The beginning stages have three locks, and you can end up going through three keys just to play one level. The most keys you can have at any one time is 10 so you’ll essentially have to stop and wait to play every three levels. Levels take about 15 seconds to a minute to complete, so it becomes incredibly annoying to continue playing. Especially because later levels have 4 key slots.
King of Thieves has all of the right components but one free-to-play limitation that ultimately kills the game for me. The key system is completely useless and is so limiting that I will certainly oblige the devs by not playing completely since they already make it so difficult to play in the first place.