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Spiral Knights

Spiral Knights is a 3D Diablo-meets-Zelda style action MMORPG with puzzle solving and an emphasis on co-op gameplay. The game is available as a stand-alone client and as a browser-based game through Java.

Publisher: Sega
Playerbase: Medium
Type: MMORPG
Release Date: April 4, 2011 (NA/EU)
PvP: Arena
Pros: +Unique art style. +Good level design. +Unique gameplay (Puzzle+Action RPG mix). +Good crafting system.
Cons: -Slow linear progression. -Pay-to-win elements. -Small game world.

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Overview

Spiral Knights Overview

Spiral Knights is a isometric action MMORPG developed by Three Rings Design and published by Sega. The game takes place on the planet Cradle, where players are knights who have crash-landed onto this foreign planet. If you think a combination between Diablo, Zelda: A Link to the Past, and an MMO would be a great idea, Spiral Knights is the game for you. It boasts a unique art style, good level design, and a unique mix of gameplay with the elements of puzzles and action RPG. Other features include 4-player dungeons, PvP, crafting, pets, beautiful graphics, and a guild system.

Spiral Knights Key Features:

  • Classless System that Emphasizes Gear the three types of weapons are Swords, Guns, and Bombs. Weapon types are considered "classes" by the community.
  • Unique Mix of Puzzle/Action RPG Elements – most of the game takes place in co-op dungeons with up to 4 players.
  • In-Depth Crafting and Item Upgrading System – with no set classes, gear plays a huge role in Spiral Knights
  • Mission-Based Gameplay – gameplay is centered around missions for players to complete, with over 80 different rank missions.
  • Instanced Gameplay – most of the world consists of instanced gameplay with no persistent hubs.

Spiral Knights Screenshots

Spiral Knights Featured Video

Full Review

Spiral Knights Review

By Toan Layne

Spiral Knights is a 3D isometric action MMORPG developed by Three Rings Design and published by Sega. The game is based on the Java platform, making it playable on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It was released on April 4, 2011, and it can also be found on Valve's Steam service. The game can also be played and downloaded on the official website. Spiral Knights has seen a boom in users since its first year, with over 3 million accounts being created. Before July 30, 2013, Spiral Knights had limited playtime, due to a system based on the "Energy" resource (which is available through the cash shop). The energy system has been removed though due to widespread player complaints.

Crash Landing

The Spiral Knights are a space-travelling army hailing from the planet Isora. They were aboard the spaceship Skylark when they crashed on the planet Cradle. While the situation was far from rosy, there was still hope. The planet Cradle was just a husk, covering the eternally re-configuring dungeon known as the Clockworks. This led to some Spiral Knights speculating that they could find an energy source inside the Clockworks that could help them rebuild and relaunch the Skylark.

Spiral Knights is a top-down, isometric, action RPG in the style of Diablo. You point, click, and hack-and-slash through dungeons on your own or with friends. You have several control schemes which you can choose by default, including mouse, or mouse + WASD, or you can set up a custom control scheme as well. I went with the WASD + mouse and found it very intuitive and easy to learn.

When creating a character, players have a decent amount of options, including gear, accessories and color schemes. The Spiral Knights themselves look like a cross between medieval knights and futuristic robots. However, the initial look will not hold for long, since players can expect to find new gear which will affect their appearance. Players don't pick a class in Spiral Knights, either. Instead, a character's "class" is determined by what kind of gear they equip. The three main weapon types in the game, which the community views as "classes," are Sword, Gun, and Bomb.

Gears and Levels

Spiral Knights does not feature a sprawling world, filled to the brim with players. Instead, much of the game is instanced and players will meet in dungeons, town hubs, and PvP scenarios. The player limit for town hubs is 10, for dungeons it's 4, and for PvP it's 12 in a 6v6 format. Guilds can hold 100 members and the friend's list is limited to 250 players. However, this does not mean that players will be lonely, since most of the game is spent in dungeons.

Players can queue up for a dungeon from anywhere in the game, using an in-game menu. Dungeons are fun challenges that involve combat, some light puzzle solving, and tidbits of lore. Leaving dungeons comes without penalties, loot is instanced so everyone gets their own share, and monsters become stronger depending on team size. Dungeons can be soloed as well. After each dungeon, players are awarded Heat, which can be used to upgrade equipment. There is also a Mission system, which is meant to guide players through the PvE progression. Missions are basically quests. Much of the gameplay in Spiral Knights is linear, so players go from one mission to the next and upon completing all the content, will be left with PvP to keep themselves busy. There are over 80 rank missions in Spiral Knights, which serve as the primary "campaign" in the game. The game also has daily missions called Prestige missions and Expansion missions, which must be purchased with cash.

This brings us to another feature of Spiral Knights: leveling. While players do go up in level in Spiral Knights, they do not receive skills. Instead, progression is done through equipment upgrades. There is the classical route of finding loot and equipment from quests or boss drops, and there is also the Forge route. The Forge can be used to level up an existing piece of gear, improving its stats. However, these upgrades are not always 100% safe. This system also ties into the crafting system, which can be used to craft new items, using recipes and materials. These recipes and materials can be found in dungeons or through the Auction House. One major complaint I have with Spiral Knights is the fact that finding certain materials for crafting late game can take over an hour, making the process of farming materials incredibly tedious. Those willing to spend real cash can acquire materials, gear, and other goodies in the cash shop, creating a bit of a pay-to-win environment.

PvP

There are two types of PvP in Spiral Knights. You have the more traditional Lockdown and the more original Blast Network. Lockdown is a PvP arena in which players fight for control points using swords, guns, and bombs. To win, a team must reach a certain score by killing enemies, and capturing and holding control points. There are three classes in Lockdown. You have Strikers, Guardians, and Recons. Each of these classes have their default block ability replaced by a special ability, and some modifications to attack speed and charge timers on different weapons. When it comes to special abilities, each class has a unique one: the Strikers have Striker Dash, which is a 3-second sprint; Guardians have Guardian Shield, which creates a protective shield for the Guardian and his teammates; and Recons have Cloaking, which turns them invisible for a short period of time and allows them to mark their targets, reducing their armor.

Lockdown can be played in 4v4 and 6v6 formats, with a random or a guild team. Upon death, players have to wait between 8 and 21 seconds to respawn, with no other penalties. There is also the possibility of saving loadouts, which are combinations of gear. Loadouts are particularly useful if you know how to play more than one class, in either defensive or offensive roles. The rewards for participating and winning a Lockdown match include PvP currency, crowns (which can be exchanged for cash shop currency), and Lockdown rank points, which raise a player’s position on the Lockdown leaderboards.

Blast Network is the more unorthodox PvP style, which is similar to Bomberman, both in terms of rules and the way the maps are laid out. Basically, you have to kill your opponents using only bombs. There are three game modes: Free For All, Random Team, and Guild Team. There is a timer for each map and four powerups: Bomb Blast Up, Bomb Count Up, Speed Up, and Health Up. The rewards for a Blast Network Event are based on the number of entrants, with the first place winner receiving 46.7% of the entrants’ fees, and the second place receiving 23.3% of the fees, if there are more than four players. If there are only four players, the winner receives 70% of the fees with the losers receiving nothing. The entrance fees are paid in crowns.

Cash Shop

The Cash Shop currency in Spiral Knights is called Energy. Energy can be exchanged for crowns and vice versa. Cash Shop items include cosmetics, reagents, materials, convenience items, handguns, dungeon keys, and boosts. There are also content packs for sale on Steam, one of them being an armor pack. The Cash Shop in Spiral Knights is pretty fair, considering that players can have full access to the entire shop with in-game currency. The game does sell lockboxes though, and players who are willing to open up their wallets have a clear advantage over free-to-play users in PvP. However, since PvP isn't the main attraction here, it's not a deal breaker.

Final Verdict – Great

Spiral Knights is a great game with a ton of features. It has endearing graphics, responsive gameplay, a fun social environment, and a strong PvP system. If you are a fan of top-down ARPG-style games, it's definitely a must-try. With a largely fair cash shop and a ton of content, players can enjoy Spiral Knights whether they want to pay for it or not. With that being said, there's no reason not to give Spiral Knights a try.

Screenshots

Spiral Knights Screenshots

Videos

Spiral Knights Videos

System Requirements

Spiral Knights System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 1.3 GHz
Video Card: GeForce 5 Series / ATI Radeon 8500
RAM: 512 MB for XP or 1 GB for Vista / 7 / 8
Hard Disk Space: 700 MB

Mac OS X Requirements:

Operating System: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.3 or later
CPU: 1.3 GHz
Video Card: GeForce 5 Series / ATI Radeon 8500 or better
RAM: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 700 MB

Given that Spiral Knights can be played on the web browser, the game's system requirements are not that demanding. The game is also compatible with Linux.

Music

Spiral Knights Music & Soundtrack


Additional Info

Spiral Knights Additional Information

Developer: Three Rings (Subsidiary of Sega)
Publisher: Sega

Composer(s): Harry Mack

Platforms: Windows / Mac OS X / Linux / Java
Game Engine: Built on Java

Closed Beta: November 12, 2009
Open Beta:
April 4, 2011
Steam Release Date: June 14, 2011

Foreign Release:

Spiral Knights is available globally without IP Restrictions through its official website as well as Steam.

Development History / Background:

Spiral Knights was developed by San Francisco-based game studio Three Rings Design and built on Java. It is published by Sega. Development for Spiral Knights began in 2007 with Nick Popovich as lead designer. The game eventually reached closed beta/alpha testing on November 12, 2009 and later moved into full release on April 4, 2011. Since its release, Spiral Knights was nominated for the 2011 Game Developers Choice Online Awards and has since won several other prestigious awards. The game's launch on Steam on June 14, 2011 led to a big boost in popularity and given that the game was made on Java, it can be played on any web browser. Websites like Armor Games and Kongregate began distributing it as well. Spiral Knights reached over 1 million accounts within 3 months of release and over 3 million within 13 months.