I first saw Kingdom Bash at a Playcrafting event a couple of years back. It was one of a few games tucked into a corner that I just didn't have time to make it to. It was one of many games available to check out at Manhattan's Play NYC gaming convention, and I definitely had the time to go have a look. I didn't go alone, either; I dragged my colleagues Robert Grosso and Samuel Guglielmo along for the ride.
Kingdom Bash is a simple enough game to understand. There are a handful of classes to choose from and dozens of levels. You and up to three of your friends make your picks, and then you're dropped right into the melee. Gameplay is a simple matter of one shot, one kill in most game modes by way of twin-stick shooter controls. The TechRaptor trio and Matthew Alan Estock got together and began a four-way melee.
My initial impressions of the game were that this is the perfect kind of thing to play in a couch co-op setting with a few of your friends, right up there with classics like Super Smash Bros. A game typically took no more than five minutes and things were always tense. The four of us played a few different rounds against one another. I got my butt kicked, especially by Mr. Estock who has an understandably strong grasp of a game he's been developing for some time now. Rob Grosso also did particularly well, picking things up quickly and wiping the floor with me. It was at this point that I also began to sense a pattern of me doing terribly at games I'm trying for the very first time.
We all rotated through the game's different classes. Each had their own distinct quirks. The Ranger had a bow and was ideally-suited for long-range combat. The Warrior was the complete opposite with his short-range sword attack, but the projectile was quite wide and allowed you to get a kill so long as you were able to close the distance. The Dragoon was a medium-range precision character, and the Enchantress was able to hurl gigantic fireballs for a devastating AoE attack.
Each player could dash in any direction (and suffer a cooldown). Attacks had to recharge, so you couldn't just run about the map spamming your weapons and hoping to hit an enemy. Strategy and positioning are a key part of playing well in Kingdom Bash.
Aside from some excellent PvP gameplay, Kingdom Bash also has some extra surprises to keep things interesting. Some game modes can result in one or two players being eliminated from the board entirely. After some time has passed, the game starts spawning NPC enemies that attack pretty much anyone on sight. This PvE feature is just a bit of flavor to the game's PvP, but Mr. Estock is currently working on the game's story mode where you and your friends will be able to cut down hordes of baddies.
We had a blast playing Kingdom Bash. Development is steadily progressing and you can keep up with it by heading over to the game's official website. If you'd like to pick up the game's alpha for yourself, it's available on Itch.Io as a pay-what-you-want title. It's absolutely worth checking out - just make sure you bring enough controllers for everybody.
What do you think of Kingdom Bash? Do you think you'd have a good time playing a PvP twin-stick shooter against your friends in couch co-op? Let us know in the comments below! Check out what else we saw at Play NYC by going to our Play NYC 2018 Coverage Hub.