Spiral Knights is a free-to-play cooperative dungeon crawler developed by Three Rings Designs, best known for Puzzle Pirates. Spiral Knights gives that nostalgic feeling of playing that fun little game you on your home console in your childhood.
System - 6/10
Spiral Knights has a really low system requirement, and is accessible for many computers. The game is pretty stable, unfortunately, this does not mean it works well. Gameplay starts to become sluggish and funny when there are more players or mobs on the screen, and deteriorates ever overtime as the game runs. The game also suffers from absolutely horrid tweaking options, and some of the basics are missing, such as texture/model quality. Most troubling is the lack of connection strength indicators with others, this should be a staple in online games!
Graphics - 8/10
Graphics are very clean and simple, and has a nice art style that fits very well with the gameplay and music. It's a bit cartoonish, but in the "family friendly" sort of way, nothing wrong with that. Some of the graphics leave something to be desired, as there's always something that looks bad, or seems off here and there. The interface looks nice and clean, no complaints here.
Gameplay - 17/20
Let me just say, this game may as well be an Zelda MMORPG. In particular, the Four Swords Adventure. You are a Spiral Knight that delves into the depths of the world to collect precious minerals to survive. This translates into: doing dungeon crawls, solving puzzles, and killing monsters.
Your equipment consists of a sword, a shield, a gun, and optionally, bombs. They work as you think they would. You choose from a variety of "dungeons" with numerous unique floors explore. A neat feature is that there are multiple variants of the floors, and the one you play is determined by the time of the day. At the end of each floor, you can choose to go deeper, increasing difficulty, or go back up to town. Each floor has a different theme, and different enemies, puzzles, and so on. Although I say there are puzzles, they're really easy and very simple puzzles, which is disappointing, they'd be more enjoyable if they were more complicated.
Dungeons include destructibles with different purposes, effects and hazards. The varieties of monsters impressed me, as many of them did have quirks that made them unique. For example, there are slimes that can catch on fire from different sources such as your gun, turning them deadlier, or a knight only vulnerable to back attacks. They're not all so intricate and complicated, but considering they're all common monsters, they add a very nice touch to the game. Temporary items can be found in the dungeons to be used as well, like health capsules, explosive flasks, and so on.
This is meant to be a cooperative multiplayer game, and as such, you can party with up to 3 other players while going down the floors. I don't feel the game has enough emphasis on teamwork unfortunately, but it's still enjoyable to play with others. I'll point out that the party system is badly implemented, you can't actually make a party outside of the dungeon. You make or join a dungeon room, and have people join your room to be in the party. At the very least, you have the option to make the room friends only.
I should note that the game uses a sort of "fatigue" system, something you see in quite a few online games now a days. Going down the floors in dungeons require "energy", and so does crafting items. You get 100 energy daily, which is plenty for playing. No doubt you'll need more if you wish to craft however, which is essential in the game. Some items even require energy to buy! Energy can be bought using money, but don't worry, it can also be bought from other players using in game cash! The game has a system set up specifically to allow players to sell or buy energy, which is great!
So where does the MMORPG portion come into the game? Your weapons and armor can be leveled, and have different stats, aside from just the standard "more defense" you would expect. Weapons and armor can be crafted, and a recipe system is in place. To craft said items, you need items dropped from monsters. And yes, there is a staple guild system.
Seriously though, this game really is like an online Zelda. You can destroy shrubs for hearts and money, there are ground spikes, you can charge your sword...this game really gives me an old school Zelda feel.
Audio - 8/10
Nothing special about the sound effects, or the music, but they really fit the game. They blend into the game, and give the spotlight to the gameplay, but the audio works its magic, and you can always hear it right behind the gameplay.
Spiral Knights is a neat game, and a joy to play with others. It may be a bit too simple, but it all works out. There's definitely potential for this to become an amazing multiplayer game. This game is worth a moment of your time if you enjoyed the old 2D Zelda games, or want a fun, simple little game to play with your friends.
Overall - 39/50