Floppy Knights Review
Time to kick butts and get some sick cash.
Available on: Steam/XBox
Genre: Turn-based Strategy Card Game
Publisher: Rose City Games, wiip
I am so glad Floppy Knights is now released. I remember playing both demo releases, really liking what we were able to play so far, and looking forward to the full release to see what the rest of the game had in store. So how is it, now that we can play it in full?
Floppy Knights follow Phoebe, a young talented inventor, and her cool robot arm named Carlton. Phoebe’s parents has been bothering her about getting a job and moving out, and while they do like how their daughter loves tinkering and that she’s talented with technology they want her to have a job and get new friends. Well Phoebe already has a plan. Just as the game starts, Phoebe finalized her invention of her own called Floppy Knights; which are tangible projections that are stored and produced from the floppy disk Phoebe inserts into Carlton. She’s planning on entering her invention into the Gadget Cup Competition, which has a cash prize that she can use to move out. Plus she can help people with her Floppy Knights too.
Winning the Gadget Cup Competition isn’t the end though, it is only the beginning, as Phoebe does take up the odd job here and there to earn some cash. And she does meet and more-or-less befriends some of the people she helps. So technically, it’s all that her parents hoped for, helping the community and making friends.
Floppy Knights is a mix of a turn-based strategy game and a card game. Before going into a level, you can view your current deck(s) and edit it when needed. Each deck has to consist of a Commander (which is basically the leader), a couple of basic locked-in cards so you can’t forget putting in movement or attack cards, and the rest can just be whatever you want as long as you have 12-30 cards. Commanders in particular are basically the heart of your deck as they do bring in a unique card and maybe have an effect that will determine how you build your deck.
Once you’re ready to put your deck into use, you can go put it to use in the levels you’ll play during the campaign. Each level is set up differently and requires you to complete the objective to be able to move on. There is a deployment zone you’ll only be able to spawn your units at and you start each level spawning your Commander. Each turn you’ll draw new cards, with your Commander card spawning on top of it, and get 5 energy to work with (though you can increase it with certain cards). You can summon more units or play others that will give your units movement, let them attack, or buffs. Some cards are even flip cards which will flip to the other side when used rather than being discarded (my favorite definitely is the sow and reap flip card) or be boosted every time it’s used.
Anyway, each turn will have you using the cards you drew to get closer to completing the objective and keeping your own units alive. As long as you have Energy to spend, you can play any card you have in your hand. Generally, you’ll be aiming to kill enemies and moving forward to your objective. While you do need movement cards to actually move them (which drawing next to none can put you in a tight spot in certain situations), units thankfully get a free hit in to any enemies within its attack zone. You can also see info on enemy units and where their movement and attack range is at (or about for ranged enemies) so you can try to avoid being attacked if you can. If one of your units die, they return to your discard pile with a trash card to clog up your deck until you spend an Energy to discard it. However, you really do need to put priority in your Commander surviving, as you fail if they die.
If the level is particularly big, to where it’ll be a hassle to bring new units over, there will be a secondary area deployment zone, but you do have to capture it yourself before you can.
As you progress episodes, you’ll be going into different areas which, of course, will change up the look of the map as well as the enemies you’ll be running into and environmental tiles and hazards. Like forests which will give you armor, rivers that hinder everyone’s speed, and even the annoying fog which obscures your view. And worst of all, the enemies also have enemy spawners which has a timer on when it’ll spawn in a new enemy. This can pretty much overwhelm you if you’re not careful, though certain levels you can just park a unit on it to delay it.
There are also bonus objectives that you can try to do. These can really make a level more difficult depending on what it is. Some objectives you’ll run into include completing a level in a certain amount of turns, defeating all or a certain number of a specific enemy type, or not losing any units. These do seem easy enough just looking at what you have to do, but actually going into the level, seeing what you have to contend with, and actually succeeding in some of these is something else. It does also depend on your deck, as some deckbuilds will be better than others at completing the objective. You don’t know how many times I had a unit die right at the end when I was trying to complete the “don’t lose any units” bonus. It does seem most of them give you currency, so you won’t really miss out on new cards past the first few.
Aside from getting new cards from completing the main objective of each level, Phoebe can also create new cards. You get a list of cards Phoebe can make, which gets updated as you complete more levels, and you can use the currency you earned to make them and put them into your deck.
Don’t let Floppy Knight’s cute artwork fool you on its difficulty as it is quite hard. Granted, it probably is mainly be due to me not being that good at deck-building games (I love them though). The AI the enemy has is too good. Based on what I saw during playing, the enemy AI seems to focus on the closest unit it can get and doesn’t waste any of its turns. If the AI has options for multiple targets, it does tend to aim for the one with the lowest health, but if it can do the killing blow to your Commander it will. Oh it will, which can be very maddening when you’re a couple of turns away from completing the objective and they kill your Commander. If you have an objective of protecting someone or something, it does seem to split the focus. It will still aim for you, but if none of your units are in reach, it’ll focus on your objective rather than going to chase you down. If you’re worried about Floppy Knights being too easy, I wouldn’t worry about it.
If you want to switch up your strategy or possibly don’t like the strategy that your first deck utilizes, you do unlock two other decks as you progress. Your first deck, the Plants Deck, has plant knights which focuses on upgrading your cards, healing your units, and giving you an advantage on forest tiles. Then there’s the Monsters Deck which, of course, have monsters as your knights and they start out with armor and some will get a buff when they take hits (like the Commander, Big Mad, who gets more Attack power the more it’s injured). This is also where you’ll be able to put a flying knight in your deck. And lastly hooligans who they have a variety of designs (though have the theme of being hooligans of course) and focus on being stealthy and fast. Other than the Commanders of each deck type, you can mix cards from different decks together if you want to.
Each deck do have different strategies attached to them (I personally mostly used Plants with a mix of Monsters) and even the different Commanders will bring in a different strategy as you basically build around the Commander and make sure the other cards synergize with the Commander and its cards.
In addition, there are Challenge Levels that you can jump into and try to complete the objective. These unlock as you complete the episodes and are essentially remixes of the levels you played through during the campaign. However, you’re given a deck to use and some are interesting like having a regular unit be a Commander. There are even puzzle challenge levels where you have to figure out how you can complete the objective in one turn.
There are a few things I wish Floppy Knights did though. I do wish there was an undo button (just for your last action at least) as I had many situations where I misclicked or believed my ranged knight would be able to attack, only to be met with being one tile off. And by that extension, be able to see attackable tiles when moving your knights. This really is only needed for ranged attackers, but it would help in not under-or-overshooting your movement. I do also wish you can see what enemy type a spawner spawns in so you can be a bit more prepared.
I had a fun and good time with Floppy Knights despite not being that great at deckbuilding card games. Not only do I love the art style, but I enjoyed how the story was told, how the characters are written that got me to enjoy talking to them, and the strategies you have to adapt to here due to the combination of the two genres and the cards you’ll get. It was interesting having to think if it was worth summoning a unit knowing you only have few movement cards or even just summoning them for the cards they draw when deployed. I did have frustrations here and there, but Floppy Knights is a solid game that I’m sure many will enjoy.