Everybody is chasing Minecraft. The latest is 505 Games, the Italian video game publisher that is unveiling its Portal Knights sandbox adventure today.
The new intellectual property is a single-player and multiplayer game where you can build things and fight monsters in a cute, endless fantasy setting. It’s a crafting-focused action-role-playing game being built by Keen Games of Frankfurt, Germany. With Microsoft buying Minecraft game studio Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014, and the block-building game luring millions of players on home console, PC, and mobile, publishers are eager to tap into this lucrative player base.
The 3D title debuts on Steam Early Access on the PC on February 25. It has a pretty art style with lots of colors, akin to a Legend of Zelda game or Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs). It has dungeon-crawling, castle-building, and boss-fighting. It’s a little like Terraria or Minecraft, and 505 says Portal Knights is split into different islands. This modular environment makes it easy to add new sections, if the developers choose.
There are more than 100 different types of objects you can craft, and you can build your own home with dozens of different kinds of materials. The game isn’t necessarily dangerous at night, like in Minecraft. But you’ll want to build a house to store your loot. David Welch, the creative manager at 505 Games, has been working closely with Keen to create the kid-oriented, approachable virtual world of Portal Knights.
You can play as a warrior, mage, or ranger. Each character has talent trees and character progression, and you can modify your character’s appearance. You can play with up to three other players in multiplayer adventures. You can travel from world to world by collecting portal shards, which you can craft into portals. Then you can step into a new world.
The combat is fast-paced. You strike foes or dodge them. There’s no player-versus-player combat as the focus is on cooperative play.