The throwback thrills of mashing monsters and arranging a cluttered Windows 95 desktop combine in Kingsway [official site], which launched yesterday. Andrew Morrish’s roguelikelike action-RPG is presented as an operating system where all aspects of dungeoneering are spread across the desktop and so many windows. Popups, shortcuts, folders, and progress bars all show little bits of the game, so you’ll likely want to dust off those window-arranging skills as well as your numbercrunching visor. I don’t know if the dungeon-crawling is any good but the presentation is cute.
What is Kingsway actually? A top-down action-RPG with monsters to mash, loot to grab, traps to dodge, quests to complete, and levels to gain. Scattering the UI across desktop windows isn’t just a cute idea, mind, as these do also present challenges. Projectiles can appear as popups you’ll need to find and click on to avoid, multiple enemies mean multiple combat windows to manage, and windows piling up threaten to obscure important information.
Oh, and of course the world is procedurally generated and it has permadeath.
I’m reminded a touch of the Indiana Jones and Star Wars ‘Desktop Adventures’ that LucasArts released in the ’90s, short procedurally-generated top-down action games which sat in a little window on your desktop. I think they were supposed to be in similar vein to time-wasting games like Solitaire and Minesweeper, little things to play during idle moments on these newfangled ‘personal computers’ that were suddenly filling our homes and offices. They weren’t good but the idea of short, casual, procedurally-generated adventures does feel curiously in tune with modern trends.