Preview: Rooks Keep

Deathmatch. Violence. Chess?

Rooks Keep is a fantasy deathmatch game by RuneStorm that is self-described as “[Unreal Tournament] with swords”. That is surprisingly accurate, as the entire focus of the game is to take down your foes for the glory of standing atop of the leaderboard.

I’ve played many combat-oriented games in the past, so you’d think I’d be good at them. The issue however is that each time I pick up a new combat game I’m too damn lazy to take the time to go through the tutorial and learn the ropes. How hard can it be, right? Well, as you can probably guess, I dove into Rooks Keep having skipped the tutorial thinking that I’d just left-click and be alright. What actually ended up happening was I got my ass kicked at the hands of the game’s AI. During the course of the first match, I quickly realized that there was more to the game than just swinging your sword furiously at the competition. Actually, I should correct myself; Swinging your sword furiously at your foes is what this game is all about. Except that there’s a little more to it if you want to be the alpha-knight ruling the battlefield.

I learned that the combat in Rooks Keep has several strategic elements to it. When you are on the offensive, varying the direction of your strikes is key to keep your opponent on their feet, while mixing it up with both quick jabs and the occasional slow-but-lethal attack helps to beat defensive enemies hiding behind their shield. These slower, high-damage attacks can strike through your opponent’s defences. So while you may be vulnerable to enemy attack while raising your Rook’s hammer over your head, when that hammer comes smashing down they’d best get out of the way because no shield will save them. There’s also defensive manoeuvres that you can utilize to stay alive. Dodging, parrying, and blocking are all a part of your defensive toolset, and each serves a specific purpose when defending yourself from an assaulting enemy.

If Deathmatch isn’t your thing, the game also features a variety of other modes like Team DM, Last Man Standing, and even a Combat Chess mode. Seriously, there’s both a traditional chess mode and a combat chess mode where the characters literally battle for each square. That’s pretty damn cool!

Rooks Keep is definitely a game that you should be checking out. Fun gameplay, lush graphics, and strategic combat seem to be coming together to make a fun experience.


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