Being a knight might have all this pompous, chivalrous stigma about it – but you don’t have to bother yourself with all that nonsense in Knights of the Drowned Table because you’re going to relive the tales of old drunkards in a tavern. No, no arrow to the knee stories will be told here. Only adventures that span from deserts to mountain peaks. With different enemies that range from Sand Wurms to Bug Dogs.
Knights of the Drowned Table from RillyBoss Studios released in Early Access in December 2017 on Steam for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. It offers both single-player, co-op, and multiplayer PvP gameplay. Cross-platform is supported so you can grind the ax alongside your friends regardless of which headset they own. The title is available now with a $14.99 price tag. I gave the game a try using an HTC Vive and liked the theme but found the game lacking in original combat mechanics and polished gameplay.
Check out the trailer below:
The gameplay in Knights of the Drowned Table starts out in a medieval tavern full of drunks who will each tell you a story if you bring them a drink. You’ll then be transported into each narrator’s story via a flashback and will have to fend for yourself by picking up various weapons and defending yourself against enemies and bosses along the way. Each ‘story’ essentially acts as a level and you can play these in either single-player or with up to four friends in co-op. The game automatically scales the difficulty of each level to match the number of players. As for the multiplayer, it offers a few game modes for up to 10 players at a time, including team deathmatch, capture the flag, free-for-all, and battle royale.
I tried out the single-player mode first which consists of three different levels with about three different types of enemies in each. Starting out in the tavern was cool, but in essence it’s just a fancy level select area where you take a drink to one of the patrons and then get teleported into their story. It would have been nice had they started telling the story just before taking me into it, but that’s a minor detail I guess.
In terms of visuals, each level was definitely distinct, but I wouldn’t say they were spectacular or anything. Given, Knights of the Drowned Table is still in early access so things should improve, but the team over at RillyBoss Studios had been working on this game for four months before releasing it in EA and you can really tell. There’s still a lot of work ahead and I would argue that the graphics department is one of the main areas that needs some attention. Not that things look bad – the characters in the tavern look great, for instance, and their animations are well done. Things just could use a bit more detail – especially some of the enemies, like the bug dogs. Others look great mind, so it’s hard to judge the game based on this aspect alone.
Another area that needs a lot of work is the gameplay of course. There were quite a few bugs present. The most frustrating one being my weapon just falling mid-combat. However, another troubling one was a visual glitch in the castle dungeon level where the walls and ceiling looked like they were throwing fits and the monsters had simply disappeared. Also, during both that level and the one with the snowmen, I kept walking around after having killed everything but nothing happened. I’m not sure if it was a glitch or if I had simply finished the story/level.
Knights of the Drowned Table has smooth movement which I personally prefer though there are ‘horse-blinders’ for those who do get sick. Movement-wise I wouldn’t say there were any issues, though some more options would be great. However, I think the height tracking needs some adjustment because I very much felt like a dwarf the whole game through.
Battling The Weapon Mechanics
Movement aside, the combat was the main area of hardship here. It’s basically just a hack and slash (if you pick up any of the melee weapons lying around the environment) or a futile effort in getting away while shooting with a bow and arrow if you go that route. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it because at this point the bow and arrow exercise simply consists of having to find an arrow (the quiver is attached somewhere behind you but actually grabbing the arrows requires some deft hand-work) and then attaching it to the bow. The aiming mechanics simply rest on the hand that holds the bow. Let’s just say this isn’t really on par with any other bow mechanics I’ve seen in VR thus far. Which is a bit disappointing since the combat seems to be the main focus of the game.
Overall though, for the combat to really shine, the developers will need to polish it and add some unique gameplay elements. Because at the moment Knights of the Drowned Table is a very generic hack and slash medieval wave fighter with okay graphics and some narration. Though I have to give props for the voice acting here since it is quite novel at times. When switching to co-op or multiplayer, the gameplay becomes a lot more interesting, though the same combat mechanics still apply here. So to reiterate my previous point, it needs work.
At this point (a few weeks into early access), Knights of the Drowned Table has a great theme and a lot of potential but needs polishing and added features before I could truly recommend it to anyone. Especially since the only thing that makes the game novel at this point is the fact that it’s in VR. I would absolutely not have recommended this game at all had it been a flat-screen title.
Luckily, the developers seem to be listening to an feedback very carefully and are planning to add more content in the future so there is hope for Knights of the Drowned Table yet. If you want to try it out then happy questing!