Coverage Club is our weekly series of smaller impressions in the style of full reviews. Games can range from brand new titles hitting Early Access to older hidden gems that never got their due. No matter your preference, you’re sure to find something off the beaten path here.
Just want one thing Just to play the king But the castle crumbled And you've left with just a name Where's your crown, King No Thing?
Covered by Robert N. Adams
I've spent several thousand hours playing RPGs like Diablo II, Path of Exile, and the like. WeakWood Throne is an indie title in the same genre that I was keen on checking out.
The game begins with a short tutorial telling you about the basics of the game. You find a stick on the ground that you can use to attack enemies. Pressing right-click will let you roll out of the way and holding right-click will allow you to hop onto a skateboard and rapidly travel over paved tiles like roads and bridges. Why there is a skateboard in a medieval fantasy RPG is beyond me, but I decided to roll with it.
The combat of WeakWood Throne is hit or miss (with a strong emphasis on miss). I had a difficult time grasping when my blows would land on an enemy and when I was in danger of taking a hit myself. Melee combat is highly dangerous because of the wonky hit detection. I gave ranged combat a try with a bow, but I found the mechanic rather underwhelming. It was in magic that I had the most hope and it indeed turned out to be the most reliable combat. Unfortunately, none of the town's vendors sold any magic weapons and I didn't have the necessary magic skill to use most of the staves I found. I ran about the world beating on enemies with a stick until I had sufficient magical power to wield an arcane staff that added poison damage.
Assorted quests pepper the game's quasi-open world. Most of them involved defeating a band of enemies or collecting a certain number of plants in traditional RPG style. All of the quests save one worked correctly, and most of the English language text was rife with grammatical and spelling errors. Heck, the character menu lists one of your stats as "Strenght" - not exactly the sign of a polished product.
Mana regenerates quite slowly, so much so that I relied on potions while in combat. Unfortunately, the "Stuff" merchants only carried a handful of potions and I couldn't quite figure out if or when they ever restocked. I settled on purposefully dying to reset the world so the merchant stock would be restored.
WeakWood Throne also had several issues with its save system. I restarted the game a few times, and I would often find that a "new" game would have stats or items from a previous session bleed over into the new game. There was no indication that the game had successfully saved, nor is there any discernable support for multiple save slots. The latter is particularly egregious in my opinion as these types of games typically involve players experimenting with different skills and character builds, something that a single save file makes somewhat difficult. The game menu's map was mysteriously totally empty, making navigating the world a chore.
When it was working correctly, WeakWood Throne was more fun than not. But I just can't ignore the numerous issues that plague the title and make it feel rather shoddy and incomplete. I went in hoping for a good ARPG experience and left disappointed. WeakWood Throne is just plain weak.
WeakWood Throne was covered on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the developer.
Covered by Samuel Guglielmo
When I was a kid and an adult asked me what I was currently playing, I often answered “nothing”, because I was always too embarrassed to try and explain video games to them. Today I can say I’m playing nothing because I’m literally playing a game called No Thing. This weird artsy runner attracted me thanks to its style. Thankfully, there’s a competent game backing it up.
The year is 1994 and it’s the future. Your job, as a random office clerk, is to deliver a message to the Queen of Ice. Outside of that, I couldn’t tell you much about No Thing. The game is abstract on purpose. You have a robotic voice talking about how rebels are listening, complimenting you on your shiny shoes, and pleading to be inside you. What does it all mean? I’m not entirely sure, but it really added to just how surreal the game is.
The great art on display also contributes to the surreal atmosphere. The whole world of No Thing is disjointed in such an interesting way. You’ll be running on platforms, trying not to let the weird pixel art that flies by both in the background and across your path distract you. None of it can hurt you, but it sure can take your eyes off the goal, causing you to slip and fall off the world, shattering the game screen and sending off a loud pitched noise.
So what is your goal? Well, all you’re really doing is turning right and left to avoid falling. Your character moves forward at all times, and your only concern is to turn to keep them from falling off the platform. Sounds simple, right? In a way it really is. With nothing else to do you can soon fall into a robotic pattern of absorbing the art and voices and keep yourself turning.
At least, until your character speeds up more and more. This is not an easy game, and before long your character is hitting ludicrous speeds in his goal to deliver his message. As you run there’s a small percentage bar at the bottom of the screen, showing how close you are to moving to the next level. Good luck getting there.
I’m not kidding when I say No Thing is tough. It took me a full hour and many deaths to finally finish the first of ten levels. I’m still trapped on the second. A game like No Thing is designed to eat you up and spit you out, even if you think its mechanics are easy. It doesn’t help that the surreal art and robot voice are distracting. The more I played the more I suspected that was their purpose.
There’s really nothing else to No Thing other than running, turning, and being sucked into its weird world. However, a low asking price makes this an easy pill to swallow. Perfect for short sessions of trying to beat that level just one more time, I had a good time with No Thing before putting it down to write this. I expect I’ll have a good time when I go back to pick it up again as well.
No Thing was covered on Nintendo Switch using a copy purchased by the player. The game is also available on PC, iOS, and Android devices.What do you think of this week’s Coverage Club selections? Do you know of an overlooked game that deserves another chance? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow our Steam Curator to keep up to date with all our reviews.