Floppy Knights is a tactical deck-building game set in a whimsical fantasy world. Made by Rose City Games, this game is perfect for those looking for an interesting puzzle mixed with a bright and colorful storyline. 

In Floppy Knights you play as Phoebe, a genius child inventor who built her warrior-projecting robotic arm, Carlton. The game consists of playing cards that involve spawning players and performing actions. How your battle turns out is ultimately decided upon what cards you have in your deck and what order you drew them. For those unfamiliar with deck-building games; the standard mechanic involves adding more powerful cards to your deck and reshuffling the cards back in once they’ve been used. To succeed in this kind of game, you must remember the cards that you’ve used and what you have coming up so you can plan your next move. Luckily in Floppy Knights the learning curve is pretty gradual to begin with, though understanding the best strategy takes some getting used to. Each battle involves different objectives, loosely related to the overarching storyline. 

While all the characters are colorful and silly, the game itself is deceptively challenging. There were some points where I said, “woah, this is level 3 and I’m getting smoked.” Some levels are highly calculated, where a single card played in the wrong order meant game over, while others were a bit more forgiving. Some games dragged on, taking me up to 30 minutes to finish a level. There a few reasons why this happens. I feel overall the number of spaces the pawns can move to on the field are too restricted. Having a lack of movement cards or not enough energy to use them can cause the game to trudge along. The enemy attacks cannot be skipped, so if there are a lot of enemies on the field it takes a long time to watch, which can be a little infuriating because after playing for a bit it’s easy to predict what the enemies will do. 

Celebration
While the levels may be difficult, you feel super smart when you figure them out.

Floppy Knights gets exciting when you are dealt a great hand and have the perfect formula to win. With the different kinds of objectives that need to be done, there are some key strategies to take. One of my favorites is getting a character with a lot of movement and bum-rushing them through the enemy lines while the enemies are focused on the slower heftier pawns. This strategy doesn’t work all the time, however, especially when your goal is to clear the board. The design of the levels are well laid out, and describe the kinds of battle you are going to face before starting, allowing you to prepare your deck with the necessary cards. Winning every level provides you with a beneficial card and possibly money if you completed the side objective. Money allows you to build more cards to boost up your deck. The game tries to steer you into playing different types of decks (like monster or plants), but the only difference to them are 3 types of cards locked into that theme. Part of me wishes I could stay with one deck the entire time and craft it to be really strong, but the way the levels are designed make it difficult to stay with just one. 

Floppy Knights is not without its flaws. What I forgot to mention earlier about the turns taking forever is that the optimization for the Xbox is bad. Really bad. At times I was waiting for a solid 3 minutes for levels to load or for actions to happen. My guess is there are too many events triggering at once in the backend, and the system doesn’t know which one to resolve first. For example: the game has an audio jingle and animation happen before playing, but it freezes and no audio happens. This could mean that the audio is trying to be triggered before the animation, but the animation doesn’t allow it to play until it starts. Besides this major flaw that made the game just about unplayable at points, there are a few minor things. When I play a card, my cursor stays on the field and doesn’t jump back into my hand to play more cards. This adds an extra button press that I have to make. There’s also no way to un-highlight something unless you click a random part of the world. Maybe if when selecting a character on the field I could toggle through all of them with the bumpers instead of moving my cursor around that would be nice. Lastly, when I am moving my character it doesn’t show me where it can hit while I’m moving it. This is frustrating because it makes me get up from where I’m sitting, remember the range of that character, and count that many squares away from it. I also don’t see the movement/attack path of enemies while I’m moving, so I have to keep flicking to their bio to see if I can squeeze around them. It may not seem like much to not show the attack paths, and I get that the developers may not have wanted to clutter the screen, but it affects the game from a usability standpoint and makes movement a hassle every time.

It can be tough to play through Floppy Knights, what with the difficulty, long level times, or poor optimization, but at least the art and music make up for the problems somewhat. The color choices help easily identify different pawns, and the characters in the story all have their own unique style to them. The music is great to listen to, and is slightly dynamic as you toggle between different menu scenes. The sounds for the actions and menus fit within the action they’re trying to portray. 

Lava Monster
Why would you want to get rid of the lava monster? I looks perfectly happy chilling on that volcano.

To summarize: solid gameplay that builds in difficulty over time, but has some serious loading problems. Storyline is light, but enough to make the actual gameplay feel cohesive. The art is colorful and whimsical, making it the best part of Floppy Knights, while the audio is catchy and fits well within the theme.

 

Game was played on Xbox One with a code provided by the developer.

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