Long Live the King
The reign of King Austin chronicles many strange occurrences. King Austin reformed the Church and became the Pope, ordaining anyone he pleased. His time as the monarch of England lists records of many spouses, several of whom were animals or even objects. He even married the Bible itself. Several times, King Austin fell victim to a bear, and dangerous traps within his own dungeon. Other times, it was said that he roamed the streets disguised as a beggar, digging up graves for treasure. These anecdotes are clearly untrue. There never was a King Austin in England's history, but I know that I was able to live out this whimsical, trippy fantasy in Fit For a King.
Developed by Brent Ellison and Tanya X and published by Kitfox Games, Fit For a King is a short game with a genre that's hard to pin down. You have sandbox gameplay, allowing you to do almost whatever you wish within its somewhat limited confines. It's part text adventure and part roguelike as well. While the gameplay is all over the place, it's not hard to realize that Fit For a King is just plain fun.
A Monarch's Life in Fit For a King
In Fit for a King, players take the role of a king or queen. A summit is on the horizon, and you must prepare to impress - or even embarrass - your rival by obnoxiously flaunting your wealth. As a ruler, you don't know exactly where all your money hides. Chests need opening and taxes need collecting. Spend the money wisely, or else your king or queen becomes the one running home with their tails between their legs.
The gameplay of Fit For a King is offsetting at first and appears complicated. This is in part due to its extremely minimal visuals. With its distinct style, Fit For a King looks as though it launched decades ago and plays similarly. This should not discourage you from trying it out, as I eventually warmed up to the visuals, controls, and retro sound effects. The gameplay is somewhat peculiar, as traditional games tend to steer clear from text adventures of yesteryear.
Fit For a King contains 26 different actions players can utilize, one for each letter of the alphabet. Talking is one of the most important actions, and is where the text adventure element comes into play. Fit For a King throws players into the game with only the singular goal that you must upstage your rival; otherwise, you're on your own. The best way to get guidance is by talking to the various NPCs throughout the small game world.
Your servant gives advice on how to proceed in the beginning, but you can pry for more information by typing in word prompts. For example, the servant lets you know several workers throughout your castle need help. By talking to the cook, he lets you know that he is hard at work preparing food for the festivities. By typing "summit," you learn that he wants to cook dragon meat. You may ask for more information from there, which can help you impress the rival French king.
Of course, you can't do anything without money. A king needs to collect taxes from his subjects and find chests hidden throughout the castle and beyond. Fit For a King features dozens of hidden chests and quite a few individuals to collect taxes from, so amassing your fortune in order to buy more lavish items for the summit is paramount. Because of this, much of the gameplay in Fit For a King feels like a puzzle.
Searching for hidden chests sounds simple, but sometimes you really have to dig. For example, I sailed to a far-off land ruled by a Sultan. Within the Sultan's palace is a substantial wedding dowry beyond locked doors, and I know by talking to his daughter that she has many suitors. Asking for more information reveals she loves the lute. Talking to a minstrel also reveals a song that any woman would fall in love with. Naturally, I woo'd the princess by playing a song and became the son-in-law of a Sultan, and hundreds of gold richer. Although these little puzzles in Fit For a King are simple, they are still quite gratifying. The many hidden chests throughout the game world require some thinking to dig up. Thankfully, Fit For a King isn't so complicated that players will be held back for long.
Unfortunately, the world in Fit For a King is rather small. Advertising it as a sandbox game might not be entirely false, but I expect a bit more scale. It's a game where you can execute, marry, jail, or even knight just about anyone, so why not broaden the world a bit more? Although, I do appreciate that there is a large degree of freedom within these confined spaces. Players may execute the aforementioned 26 actions, no pun intended. You can jail, marry, ordain, knight, bless, and talk to just about anyone and anything. Some of these actions are way more useful or essential than others, while the rest might only be useful once in the entire playthrough.
Even if the world is small, I love that no matter what, Fit For a King doesn't hold you back. By reforming the church, you may pay gold to marry animals and objects, so even a pile of refuse can become your next spouse. At one point, I accidentally knighted a bush, now forever known as Sir Bush. There's only so much enjoyment from all of this since Fit For a King is a short, couple hour game. Still, there are relatively no restrictions in terms of gameplay. If I want to execute my entire court, I can, although ultimately that might make it much more difficult to beat Fit For a King.
Fit For a King Review | Final Thoughts
The visuals of Fit For a King grate on the eyes a bit at first. It's comparable to Dwarf Fortress, which can also be a little difficult to read at times. I eventually got used to it, but there is also an option to toggle graphics to a shade of green, which helps the readability in some ways. The sound design is extremely retro as well. The clunky sound effects add to the overall charm, although unfortunately there's no music other than on the title screen. By and large, sound effects and graphics are reminiscent of those early 1980s RPGs like Ultima 1. Fit for a King nails this aesthetic.
Fit For a King boils down to a few hours of non-stop, humorous fun. It is not a game you can play for hours on end, because there isn't enough content there. I encourage players to experiment and have fun with it after embarrassing the rival king at the summit. Fit For a King shows that you don't need a huge world or fancy visuals to let players do as they please. If you're looking for a quirky title that doesn't take itself seriously, with some light brainteasers thrown into the mix, you really can't go wrong with Fit For a King.
TechRaptor reviewed Fit For a King on PC via Steam using a copy provided by the publisher.
- Funny Dialogue
- Witty Text Puzzles
- Fun Sandbox Gameplay
- Very Short and Smaller Game World
- Some Commands Seem Useless