Should I be excited about… Battle Worlds: Kronos?
Battle Worlds: Kronos is an upcoming strategy game from King Art Games. The project was successfully kickstarted in spring this year, raising more than double their target, and was simultaneously accepted on Steam Greenlight in just 14 days. With the game due to be released by the end of the year, it has already gone through several closed Alpha and Beta phases. We got to take a look at the current closed Beta version to see how it’s coming along.
At the moment, the game contains a short single player campaign along with a handful of multiplayer maps for 1 v 1 live or asynchronous battles. The multiplayer battles work in a very similar way to Frozen Synapse. You take your turn, send it off to the server and the person you are playing gets notified in-game (or by email if they have set it up) that it’s their turn.
So as I have given away there, the gameplay is turn based strategy in both single player and multiplayer. There are a wide variety of unit types to use in battle so you always have to consider strengths and weaknesses. One nice thing about battle is setting up flanking. If you surround a unit before attacking it, you gain a flanking bonus for each unit when you attack. Not only does this define how you attack, but it also makes you think about positioning when making a defensive move. Right now there is nothing particularly special about the units in the game, or the gameplay itself that sets Battle Worlds: Kronos ahead of other games of the genre.
There are two features that do give it a bit of uniqueness however. One of which is present in the beta and that is the transition between views from the scrollwheel. The only other game (to my knowledge) that has done this better is R.U.S.E by Ubisoft. By scrolling all the way out you end up with just a hex grid view with small icons for all the units, land features, etc. Scrolling in from here transitions smoothly into the 3D terrain and models. It’s a nice feature, so nice I made a .gif of it for you:
The second feature isn’t in the beta, but it is in the development pipeline. The game will not only be available on PC, Mac and Linux as the beta is, but they also plan for it to play from web browsers. Not only that, but multiplayer will be cross-platform, so you really will have a good option of opponents even if you are playing from a slightly less popular format. To widen their net even further, King Art Games are planning for iOS and Android on OUYA versions of the game to be released in 2014. As they have used the Unity3D game engine, and the fact that Turn Based Strategy games are extremely light on network messages, there is no reason why their vision of complete “multiplatform multiplayer” wouldn’t work perfectly.
Other features that will be available in the final game include: Two Single player campaigns, one fighting as the “Yerla” faction which are a high-tech military group, and the other is playing a rebels so you have to make do with the tools you have; Single Player Challenge maps to test your skills in; Leagues and Tournaments; A map editor (Windows version only); Free DLC, thanks to the stretch goals of Kickstarter being reached.
So while the gameplay available right now is a little uninspiring, the inclusion of two campaigns, against what is a very solid AI, along with a huge amount of freedom on how, where and when to play multiplayer make Battle Worlds: Kronos a promising concept. See it as a kind of Frozen Synapse cross Command and Conquer, and if that sounds up your street then keep an eye out for it launching later this year.