So, I’m a sucker for everything RTS and Atlus. Whether it’s Atlus’s own franchises like Shin Megami Tensei or just something they’re publishing such as Cubivore, I’ve always loved their offerings. But on the other hand, browser-based MMOs have always been hit or miss with me. It’s either moderately fun or flat-out boring. Does Knights of the Sky, an MMORTS set in a fantasy/steampunky world, keep my interest or fall disappointingly short? Let’s find out.
When I think of browser-based MMOs, nothing good ends up coming to mind, especially when we’re talking about art and aesthetics. As far as this goes, Knights does not disappoint. While the unit sprites are tiny, the portraits and landscapes look all kinds of nice. It’s nothing amazing or beautiful, but it looks better than I’ve come to expected from a game like this. The writing’s surprisingly good too. Your helpers in the tutorial missions are snarky (even going to the point of mocking how small and squashed the text is at one point). Nothing made me double over in laughter, but I chuckled a few times.
But nobody reads this thing to listen to me ramble on the art or writing of some tiny browser game. You fine folks want to know more about how it’s played. Well… I can’t agree with Atlus calling it an RTS. Maybe the PVP battles or later fights are like that, or maybe they’re talking about how the world map works. The actual battles, at least from what I’ve played? Turn-based strategy with a time limit on how long you can take. If you’ve played a turn-based strategy game like Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea, then you know how this works. Move to wherever you can (within a limit), then attack or wait. Battlegrounds are flat, so there’s no special combat modifiers for having the high ground or anything. It’s nothing you could play for a long while without getting bored, but thankfully there’s an auto-battle option. The AI’s kind of… not very good, but it works well enough.
The game also has a few other mechanics. The biggest of these is the Sky Castle, which acts as a mobile base of operations. The cool thing about the castle is that pretty much everything in it is upgradable. Farms, logging areas, and mines will give you resources for research and production while places like the market act as an always-ready auction house. The Sky Castle brings a nice little element of kingdom simulation and town-building into the picture, which is a nice touch.
Heroes are pretty neat, too. You start off with yourself (a Lord) and a few others, each with their own stats and soldier affinities. Stats are pretty much your standard RPG fare; strength increases how much damage soldiers under that hero’s command do, intelligence increases spell damage and MP, so on so forth. Affinities are special little bonuses that certain troops (warriors, gunners, dragons, what have you) get when being lead by that hero. As a Lord, you have an affinity for all troops, which makes your role nice and flexible. Finally, heroes can be equipped with a variety of items to boost their stats and further specialize them. Got a guy with particularly high MP and access to a few spells? Throw a robe on that dude and load him up with an intelligence-boosting sword.
Now, I’m kind of digging this game, but would I recommend it to others? Ah… Yeah, why not. I mean, no download needed or anything, so you don’t even have to waste much time if you don’t like it. Although I recommend getting out of the tutorial before judging it. Also, you’ll want to check the manual and getting started pages, as some concepts (how to add heroes to your group, for instance) don’t seem to be explained very well. Also, unlike Sword Girls (the last browser game I took a crack at), the writing is legible and not everything is random, so that’s a plus. But, yeah, just give it a shot. Oh, and if you’d like to hit me up in-game, try looking for Myschi.
Anyhoo, that is me done for the day. Kinda surprised this went on so long after all my difficulties with starting this post. If you fine folks like what you see here, feel free to tell your friends (or enemies) and, if you enjoy our site enough, maybe even subscribe via email on the side there, because every reader counts. As always, thanks for reading and have a good’un.