You might assume that a game that excels as a couch co-op experience would probably avoid releasing right now, but you would be wrong. Chainsawesome Games has brought us the sequel to 2014's Knight Squad, and it's looking to continue its daft and wacky spree of medieval-themed mini-games, except this time looking better than ever before. Built as a multiplayer title for up to eight players, Knight Squad 2 is a great example of how simplicity is extremely fun.
Designed as a party game first and foremost, Knight Squad 2 is a top-down title that consists of several different mini-games that make up a tournament. Players will take up the role of one of fifteen unique knights, each of whom have their own look, name, and colour scheme to be able to throw down across a whole range of game modes. Winning a tournament involves taking home the victory in at least three mini-games before anyone else, and if you are wondering, you can play this game with other players through online multiplayer, or alone against a horde of AI, despite it probably being best suited for local multiplayer.
The mini-games that you will end up playing range from circuit races to battle royales, all the way to objective-based modes that involve holding an area or an item longer than anyone else. Whether you're asked to slice and dice your opponents to pieces (one swing of a sword will be enough to eliminate an opponent) to rack up points, or rather focus objectively, each and every game mode offers something unique and fun for you to get behind, and because they are mini-games, none take longer than a few minutes to complete.
A favourite game mode of mine is Juggernaut, which is essentially an objective-based mode despite the main way of winning involving you gunning down hordes of other players. The mode features one gatling gun power-up on the map that transforms the user into a juggernaut knight wielding a minigun. With the powerful weapon in your hands, you have to shoot other players before they kill you and take the power for themselves. It's hectic, fast-paced and ridiculously fun, and serves as a great example of the sorts of mayhem you can expect to get up to in Knight Squad 2.
To build on the mention of power-ups, every other game mode does feature a few power-ups to grab and use to your advantage. Whether they equip your knight with a bow and arrow, a protective barrier to absorb one sword swing, or a drill to cut through the more hardy parts of the environment, there are plenty of options that are available. For the most part, these do fit the medieval theme, but there are also laser guns great for vaporising your opponents.
The fifteen playable knights are all equal in what they offer, despite each looking different and having slightly different lore that might suggest otherwise. You'll start with nine unlocked and ready to play, but a further six can be acquired by completing special challenges in the game. This could be getting a hepta-kill (seven kills in very quick succession), simply winning a tournament, or even by inputting a provided cheat code when on the game's main menu. This method of introducing new characters is quite a refreshing one compared to having to earn and spend currency, as in theory, you could unlock the majority of the knights in 30 minutes, if you are a really talented Knight Squad 2 player.
Each knight also comes with an unlockable sword that further adds to their appearance. These are earnt after achieving 1000 kills on a knight and offer a visually unique weapon for you to flaunt in-game, and each of the fifteen knights available has one to unlock, so there's plenty to keep you entertained here.
As Knight Squad 2 is made to be a party game at its core, this title doesn't exactly offer the best solo experience. Sure, it's fun, but it's infinitely better when you are playing with friends, either locally or online. The title is already crossplay, meaning it's even easier to play with your pals, and considering how fast-paced games are, it's also super easy to jump into and play a quick 20 minute session if you're tight on time. The online matchmaking also works great and is super easy to figure out.
I mentioned earlier that Knight Squad 2 offers an experience that looks better than ever before, and that is true. This sequel looks great, however, its top-down and fast-paced nature does mean that you won't be focussed on its visuals really all that much.
Even considering it's hard to enjoy party games as an in-person group these days, Knight Squad 2 offers such a tantalisingly fun experience that it's hard not to want to play more. Sure, it can be tough to truly appreciate the game when alone, but its wacky, fast-paced mini-games won't hesitate to put a smile on your face. With the ability to dive in and play cross-platform at launch, if you're looking for something fun to play with pals, there's very few reasons not to pick up and give this one a go.