If you’ve been on Steam recently, you might have played a little game called Portal Knights since it came out in February of 2016. The game is a crafting and adventure game similar to Minecraft, though the world (or rather, worlds) isn’t nearly as large as the Mojang-developed genre creator that Minecraft became.
Portal Knights focuses on you, one of the eponymous heroes, as you make your way around a shattered world to try and knit it back together. The world, which was destroyed in an event called “The Fracture”, is now divided into a small number of other floating plateaus, and you have to gather portal shards to put the shards back together.
The gameplay is similar to Minecraft; you run around the area, killing monsters, gathering materials, and crafting various things in order to help you survive better and, eventually, make the portals that you use to go from world to world. Various maps can include dungeons, where you can go and find treasure in the form of crafting materials.
However, there we also run into the same sort of problem that Minecraft has: It’s much more fun with friends. I played the game by myself, and found it fairly empty, even with the small territory and with the enemies populating the zone. Finding everything you need to go from portal to portal can be tiresome even on the tutorial level, and the curiosity that comes with exploring each zone only lasts a short time.
The crafting system also doesn’t appear to be as varied as Minecraft either; from what I saw, most of the things you can craft are either tools or outfits, made up of a variety of materials that escalate in strength and hardness the farther up the tiers you go.
The building engine also appears to be similar to Minecraft; you run around and beat things until they break with your tools, though several tools are better than others at breaking various types of minerals. You can use the materials you harvest to either craft things or circumvent obstacles, such as getting up a cliff.
However, the game does also add a number of differences that can distinguish it from Minecraft. You get to choose from a fighter (armed with a sword), a ranger (with a bow) and a mage (with a staff) Portal Knights lets you choose your class and customize your character before throwing you into the game, allowing you to choose from several dozen styles of eyes, chin, hair, and nose.
You also actually gain experience that works towards things like your health and speed, unlike Minecraft where the experience you can gather is used more for draining into other things and is easily losable.
While I haven’t necessarily followed the game’s development since it came out back in February of last year, I can see that it has a lot of potential, though as I’ve said it’s like Minecraft in that it appears to be more fun with friends where you can do more faster and explore things together.
All in all, I give it an eight out of ten, and if you enjoy Minecraft or other building games that you can do with your friends, you’ll most likely enjoy it.