If you’re searching for a retro RPG that plays via the looks and feels of a Windows 95 operating system, then I’m not sure how you came to that idea. Kingsway is a novel idea of a game that mixes the old school RPG adventure to an old operating system complete with moveable windows, hard-disk clicking sounds, and progress bars akin to downloading through dial-up. Kingsway creatively uses the design and quirks of an OS in the ‘olden days’ as a means for the player to go on quests, battle monsters, and save the land from the ‘shadows’.
Players will explore the land of Kingsway by traversing from one point to another on the World Navigator. In this instance, it’s an application (or window) showing your player and the different points of interests across the map. Players will encounter enemies, random events, and secret locations. The guild will send various quests to you via email and which can be turned in to the Adventurer guilds across cities.
Kingsway’s creative design is something that I haven’t seen before. The overarching theme beyond the OS gimmick is a roguelike game. When a battle encounter takes place, a pop-up of your enemy will appear. This pop-up would prompt you to click the attack icon when the progress bar has filled for your turn. The enemy has its own progress bar too. Just to make things a little difficult, the pesky pop-up will move around the desktop. Then there are action prompts too such as a small moving pop-up with an arrowhead heading towards you and the click to “AVOID” button on it.
Players can allot points to the typical STR, VIT, INT, and AGI attributes. Strength increases attack, Vitality increases HP, Intelligence increases mana, and Agility increases attack speed – which means faster loading to your attack turn. The inventory is managed through weight system and extra storage is available by depositing your excess items to the guild. In the end, inventory is limited and some items require a certain level or attribute to be equipped.
Some of the things I found difficult on Kingsway is the setting of the game itself. Despite its simplicity on the cover, expect a learning curve in this game. Each world is randomly generated. A ‘shadow’ is heading towards the land and you will need to prioritize your moves heading east. The shadow serves as the time limit of the game. This means that you cannot play the game at your own pace – for example doing side quests first. I also found that the game is clunky unless you have practiced arranging your windows properly. Shadows are powerful and beware of permadeath. Certainly, Kingsway is not for everyone and some folks may get tired of it quickly due to the overarching button clicking and the lack of a story. But if you’re looking for a unique and challenging game, try Kingsway.