If you’re lucky enough to have an arcade down your neck from the forest, you’ve probably seen it: a vast, imposing pair of arcade cabinets with “Killer Queen” decorated on the marquee in blue and gold. You may even have seen or played a versus session, with five players gathered around each screen trying to team up and achieve a sweet, sweet win. Ideal for arcades, Killer Queen, is a unique game built around the camaraderie of being together in a public space – an atmosphere hard to translate into the often lonely online experience that PCs and consoles offer. This is our Killer Queen Black Review.
Killer Queen Black Review: About
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, macOS
- Developer: Liquid Bit, LLC, BumbleBear Games
- Publisher: Liquid Bit, LLC, BumbleBear Games
- Genres: Platform game
- Release Date: October 11, 2019
Killer Queen Black Review: Official Trailer Video
Killer Queen Black Review: Gameplay
Enter Killer Queen Black, the first appearance of Killer Queen beyond the dimly lit neon lights of modern social arcades. While not a 1: 1 port of the original arcade original, Killer Queen Black nevertheless delivers a hugely fun and engaging multiplayer experience, whether you’re playing at home with a bunch of friends or participating in random battles online.
It’s important to realize that Killer Queen, in any form, is essentially a multiplayer experience. That means if you don’t plan on playing with local friends or playing the game online, there is little it will offer you besides a short tutorial mode and the ability to play with CPU driven teammates and enemies. But when you start a party, Killer Queen Black realizes its great fun and frantic potential.
At Killer Queen Black, you play in two teams of four players (less than five in the arcade original), with one player taking on the role of the insectoid queen and three working drones helping her. Every player has an important role to play. At the same time, the queen is the team’s anchor and has access to powerful attacking skills; the infinitely respawning drones can pick up berries, ride snails and upgrade in unique pods to become super-fast or become a weapon and shield-carrying warriors.
Victory can be achieved in three ways: by killing the queen of the opposing team three times, collecting and storing enough berries to fill your team’s base, or driving to your team’s goalposts with a slow snail. The game’s varied roles and three attractive options offer many new strategies. Do the drones all choose to give up the ability to carry berries and ride the snail to get weapons to commit a total offense? Or maybe grab a set of equipment while trying to lure the queen by riding the snail?
Perhaps the queen of your team can dodge and attack enemies, distract the other team and claim their power stations while your drone friends hoard berries or shove the snail at the target. You can even put yourself in the jaws of the snail to thwart a moving opponent, giving your teammates who swing weapons the chance to kill threats. There are many options, and while there’s always a lot going on in Killer Queen Black, learning the basic rules and controls is easy enough for almost anyone to jump in and quickly enjoy the strategic depth the gameplay has to offer.
Graphically, Killer Queen Black has received a significant overhaul of the arcade original. The arcade game used a particular retro-pixel art style, which turns to black. However, the details of the characters, animations, and background elements have been significantly improved, adding much to the atmosphere of Killer Queen’s strange humanoid insect world. As a result, it’s not too difficult to follow the action, even on the Switch’s relatively smaller handheld screen.
In addition to the graphics overhaul, several all-new maps are coming out, many of which emphasize the smart use of screen wrapping to enhance strategic play by moving you quickly from the end of the screen to the other. There are many ways to enjoy the game’s multiplayer modes. You can pair a few switches together through a local network for eight-player action; you can jump into a custom room online with friends or a collection of random players. You can even take a local team of up to four players online to compete online in another group.
In our tests, online play generally went smoothly, although it was reasonably easy to see when players’ connections were not ideal; you could see their character jump across the map abruptly as the game struggled to catch up on their location. There is an online voice chat for each team to coordinate the strategy. Still, if you don’t have access to voice chat, you can also communicate via a simple emote and emphasis system that draws attention to places on the map. If there is a significant problem with online, it is a lack of options; you can turn specific maps on and off, but that’s about it. With only six cards in the base game, the scenery starts to feel stale pretty quickly.
Minor negatives aside, Killer Queen Black Review is the definition of a great multiplayer game: easy to learn, fun to jump in, and packed with the kind of clutch moments that will make you jump and cheer. The satisfaction of spontaneous decisions, such as cutting off a queen from across the map with a carefully timed laser gun, an attacker chasing your queen with a thrown berry, or eagerly shoving yourself into the mouth of a snail of pixels from the enemy goal to give your teammates time to complete your berry jar is always engaging. If you’re looking for a unique, competitive multiplayer experience for online or local group play, Killer Queen Black is the bee’s knees.
Ideal for arcades, Killer Queen, is a unique game built around the camaraderie of being together in a public space – an atmosphere hard to translate into the often lonely online experience that PCs and consoles offer.