IMPRESSIONS: Floppy Knights Demo

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

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Over the past year or so, I’ve become a fan of the folks at Rose City Games. I only met them recently, but after playing Cat Lady, I knew I liked their style. And thankfully, it doesn’t stop there. Rose City has a couple other games in the works, one of which I’m personally very excited about. It’s called Floppy Knights, and thanks to the Steam Game Festival, I finally had a chance to play the demo. I’ve been following the posts about Floppy Knights for months now, so having that culminate in actual hands-on experience is fantastic. Keep reading to see why I’m starting to get excited about the latest from this talented team.

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One way Floppy Knights is different from Cat Lady is the publisher. While the latter is pubbed by VIZ Media, Floppy Knights is being published by Those Awesome Guys. Despite the catchy name, I’m not nearly as familiar with that group, but I have a feeling I’m gonna be a fan. At least if my demo was anything to go by. I was attracted to Floppy Knights for two reasons. One, the super eye catching artwork by none other than Marlowe Dobbe. I grew to really like her artwork after reviewing Dicey Dungeons, and it’s just as sweet looking here. But the other reason I have been chomping at the bit for this opportunity to play Floppy Knights is the genre.

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Floppy Knights is a turn based tactical RPG with card mechanics thrown in for good measure. It plays a little like Fire Emblem, but it honestly feels very much like its own game. At least in the demo, you only have two characters – Phoebe and Carlton. They both have a zany zest for life and are very easily excited. Cartoonish, even. Not that I’m complaining. It’s pretty humorous stuff. Oh and did I mention Carlton is a talking robot arm? Yea, it’s that sort of game, and it’s delightful. As you progress, you’ll help navigate the dynamic duo through their problems via battles. This mostly involves vegetable stealing goblins and their goofy desire to become rich.

Floppy Knights | Card Generation

These conflicts play out on a field with a grid, and that’s about as close as it gets to the standard tactical game. At the start of every battle, you select a Commander and place them on the field. If it dies, you lose. You control them, and any other units you have on the field, using cards from your deck. Cards do a lot of things, but the vital ones allow you to move around the field. Every turn 5 are drawn, and if you don’t use them all, the unused cards get trashed, literally. Once you’re out of deck, your trash gets shuffled back into it. But you can’t just play your cards recklessly. Playing cards requires energy. In the demo, you only had 4 energy max per turn. This meant that I had to carefully manage which cards were used every turn. Thankfully, though you do need to use cards to move, you don’t to battle. Every unit gets one free attack each turn, which helps a ton. Though you can attack more with the right card.

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Speaking of units, you can marshal a veritable army, at least if you’re lucky. After you draw a creature card, playing it lets you immediately summon it to the field. Your team can move and attack in the same turn, nothing like summoning sickness was present here. But again, you need to watch your energy. Luckily, each monster card you play provides some other benefit. Take the Succulent Kicker. When it’s placed, I would get some free movement and kick cards along with it. Better yet, once generated, those cards stay in your deck the entire battle. Even if they get trashed. Every monster card has a different benefit. Some will generate cards that make your attacks poisonous, others create thorn cards to harm attackers and much more. Just keep in mind, if a monster is defeated, it’s tossed into the trash along with an actual Trash card. They’re utterly useless, and you have to spend energy to remove them from your deck. So try not to let your team die unnecessarily.

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As you probably guessed from the card descriptions and images above, the theme of the demo deck is plants. I understand that there will be a variety of deck themes once the full game gets released. But for now, it’s all about cacti, potted plants and the like. The plant theme revolves around growing into more powerful forms, naturally. You have cards that either let you upgrade a unit on the field or a card in your hand. Upgrading a unit generally gives them more health or allows them to deal more damage, amongst other benefits. Upgrading a card generally lowers the energy cost or enhances its effects. This meant that even with the relatively small pool of cards in the demo, there’s a lot of strategies you can use. Every mission you win nets you at least one new card, too. If you manage to beat the optional objectives, you’ll get another. I spent about an hour beating the demo, and a few more minutes to clear those optional objectives. They mostly were alternate ways to win the battle, such as occupying territories for a few turns instead of just mulching the opposition. And though I didn’t utilize it, you have a deck customization feature, though I managed fine with the cards I won from battles.

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I found the game mechanics to be easy to grasp, and trickier to master. The first two tutorial missions were a breeze, but by the third Floppy Knights started playing for keeps. I lost a handful of times in the other three missions, and each time I learned a new approach to improve my strategy. There is some element of RNG with the cards you draw each turn, but it’s not that detrimental. Generally just taking my time to think and act accordingly resulted in success. The game controls perfectly with mouse controls, though I do wonder if the final game might implement gamepad functionality. My only complaint regarding the controls is that I was never told I could move the map by dragging the screen. There was also one glitch that happened a few times. I would select a move card, and was given an attack card with it. It didn’t disappear either, at least until the battle was over.

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Overall, I’m a fan of Floppy Knights. I think it has a lot of potential to be a really deep and fun tactical game, and it already plays quite well. Maybe the adventure length won’t be on same scale as others in the genre, but that’s just speculation. I’d be happy to be proven totally wrong and for this to be a massive 100+ hour campaign. Either way, it’s a fantastic looking game with spunk to spare, and it has some really dynamic arcade-style tunes. I think this is gonna be a winner. The only question now is how much longer we’ll have to wait for the release date? Here’s hoping Rose City Games answers that last question sooner than later!

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About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.