Jumping jesters, would you look at this. Cracking multiplayer siege ‘em up King Arthur’s Gold is going free-to-play, say the creators. This is A-grade news. News that makes me want to put both thumbs up. Hang on. There, botrh thumbs s up now but actualy itsquite hard to typewith just your pinkie s at jhis angle so let’s stop. Anyway, yes, this is a game of team-based medieval silliness, somewhere between Worms and Terraria. I did our King Arthur’s Gold review many years ago, and I have blown the royal bugle about it since. It was worth the handful of quid even back then, and now it’s going free. So I’m here to tell all ye lowly peasant rabble: collect your pig pokers, grab your big wheat forks or what-have-you, and come join this manic, comical war of tiny pixel men. It’s very good.
It’s going free-to-play on Steam this evening at 8pm BST (that's 12pm PDT), when the price on Steam will disappear. All this to celebrate the game’s 8th birthday, say developers Transhuman Design. They’re going to fund it with DLC and money from a Patreon from now on. Mostly, this just looks like they want more people to come play. But honestly, you should. Seldom can you savour the joy of grappling up the side of an enemy tower. Rare is the pleasure of throwing a bomb into your foe’s stronghold, like a spec ops man in a Robin Hood hat. Rarer still the cry of fear when that bomb lands short of its target and blows up the struts of the tower you’re standing on. Oh no, the whole thing is crumbling down, here it comes, another death-by-masonry. This videogame is quite good.
To refresh your memory, here's what it looks like.
Basically, it’s a game of capture the flag or team deathmatch in which both sides are building fortresses, even as they send wave after wave of brave knights to die in the spike traps of the opposing team. You can be a builder, erecting wobbly towers and digging pitfalls. You can be a knight and glide on your shield towards the enemy. You can be an archer with a grappling hook and a head for heights. The menus are a bit old-fashioned, and you will probably have to download a bunch of mods that have completely transformed the game in the past 8 years. But listen, you can ride a shark.
“We want free players to be able to enjoy the full spectrum of KAG gameplay,” said the developers. “The fast paced action of [team deathmatch], the tragedy and triumph of an hour long [capture the flag] match, and even the deeply complex role play mods and 3D total conversions.”
The only thing freeloading players won’t be able to do, say the makers, is dress up their pixel warriors in silly hats and clothes. For that you’ll have to buy DLC or throw some pennies into the Patreon. Players who owned the game before any of this will still be able to play dress-up as per usual.
My predominant memory of this daft, chaotic warfare simulator is of being a builder and spending most of a long match underground, digging an ambitious tunnel alongside some other mole men. We wanted to go straight under the enemy fortress. But then we broke into a small passage. And there were faces on the other side. The other team had the same thought as us. I do not remember the exact outcome of the dark panic that ensued in that ill-lit tunnel, but I know that there was blood and laughter.