It was much to my surprise when I discovered that Killer Queen Black was the sequel to an arcade game. An actual arcade game cabinet, in fact, and with apparently only 100 or so in existence. Nor did I know that there was a passionate, grassroots community for said arcade game. Thanks to E3, I was able to try out Killer Queen Black and it left me excited for the its future.
Killer Queen Black is a competitive multiplayer title that pits two teams of four against one another. The team composition comprises a queen—this bug-like creature with a fierce, piercing barb—and three drones that collects berries and can also ride a snail to victory. Riding a snail sounds strange, but it serves a purpose. In Killer Queen Black, there are three ways to win a game: gather enough berries, deplete the rival queen's lives, or ride the snail past the finish line. Rounds in the game are best two out of three, so it can take up to five games to determine a winner.
The queen can kill drones with ease, but the rival queen is more of a challenge. Seeing them buzz and fight in the air reminds me of the arcade game Joust. If you're reckless and die too many times as a queen, that's a good way to give the bad guys a win. While drones are fodder to the queens, you can platform around cleverly designed, two-dimensional stages and collect berries hanging from platforms or clinging to a surface. I wasn't brave enough to be the fast-and-loose queen, so I opted to collect berries as a drone the whole time. Your hive will have a set number of berries to collect, and queens and rival drones will likely try their best to keep that from happening.
Or, you could just ride a very slow, slimy snail to a finish line and win. These snails are in the middle of the stage and it's a bit like a game of tug of war. You might ride your snail a bit closer before you get killed, leaving an enemy drone player to ride it a bit in their direction. At one point, I was so intent on collecting berries that I completely disregarded the snail and that led to my defeat.
Drones can give berries to receive a buff like a laser gun or mace to wreak havoc on enemy lines. It's utter madness at times as everyone is frantically doing their own thing to secure victory. Games are also quite quick, at least for novice players. It takes around 15 minutes or so to win an entire game, and matches themselves can last much less. I spoke to a developer of Killer Queen Black, and I am led to believe that this title could have a great e-sports presence.
Indeed, Killer Queen Black is a game to watch out for, and you don't even have to play to experience the game. If you become the top team in the entire Killer Queen Black community, your matches are streamed on Twitch live. If someone dethrones the "Black Team" as it's called, they take the top spot.
The Black Team isn't the only difference between this title and its arcade predecessor. Graphically, the developer compared the transition from one game to another like going from the NES to SNES. The spritework is wonderfully done, from the adorable drones to the creative backgrounds of each arena. If you're a fan of the arcade game or even the least bit intrigued by fun, team-based competition, I urge you to get your hands on Killer Queen Black for yourself when it launches later this year.
If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2019 Coverage Hub.