Killer Queen Black is the reincarnation of Killer Queen, a 2013 arcade hit fresh out of the US. With action, strategy and multiplayer at its core, it comes as no surprise that it is gracing home consoles this year. Difficult to define and a challenge to explain, in short, Killer Queen Black offers gamers new and old a bloody good time.
Offering local multiplayer for up to 4 players (8 with two switch consoles) and online functionality catering to the same magic number, Killer Queen Black’s arcade origins are plain to see. There is no single player experience to speak of outside of playing a game with 7 bots, and this sees the developers send the clearest message: play this game with friends.
Each game tasks two teams, consisting of a Queen and her three workers, competing to be crowned victorious in one of three ways. The first is the ‘Military’ option whereby the opposing Queen must be killed three times. Next is the ‘Snail’ approach and perhaps the most rewarding of the three, as it sees the workers compete to ride the snail positioned in the centre of the screen to the corresponding team gate. The third and final method is referred to as ‘Economic’, and again involves the workers, only this time collecting berries from various locations across the map and depositing them at the safe space.
Individually, these three strategic approaches to victory are relatively simple. When combined, it makes for carnage rivalling the likes of Super Smash Bros. In a game where strategy is key, the number of variables that impact success has a direct effect on your chances, and this is definitely felt here. Focusing on one road to victory leaves you exposed, in the same way that attempting to cover all bases does too.
With such an eclectic mix of characters and an unusual selection of strategies, Killer Queen Black could have quite easily become a game trying too hard to be different. Fortunately, with an easy to use control scheme and platforming action which is both intuitive and engaging, Killer Queen Black has smashed it.
For all its successes as a multiplayer experience, there are a few drawbacks which stop it from becoming an all-time great on the indie scene. The music is uninspiring and so too are the backdrops – once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. That being said, the positioning of the platforms does make for a different strategy each time, which does improve the overall quality of them.
The lack of a single player mode also hinders its chances of succeeding in a flooded market, as it is heavily reliant on gamers purchasing the title. Whether this game will still be popular in six months time remains to be seen, however it is fair to say that Liquid Bit have done all they can. Cross-platform multiplayer, three online modes including Ranked play, and the opportunity to spectate to learn from others is everything us gamers could have asked for. During the review, the online play was almost flawless with a great connection and smooth gameplay. There were, however, occasions where a game couldn’t be found, making the game redundant: this is the primary concern as this game continues to get a little older.
Killer Queen Black has the potential to garner a cult following that sees it propelled to the dizzying heights of eSport greatness. Its lack of creativity in both audio and visuals is to its detriment, but as an online multiplayer experience, it excels.
Killer Queen Black £16.19
Killer Queen Black is a near-perfect collation of individual elements that, when combined, make for an engaging, intense multiplayer experience.