Floppy Knights Review (PC)

Floppy Knights Review: A Wonderful Tactical Adventure Full of Heart

 

Floppy Knights review | Featured

I had the good fortune to become an early adopter of Rose City Games. They’re a relatively small Portland-based indie team that always seems to have a hand in creative, unique, and challenging games, from Cat Lady to Garden Story. And I suspected early on that Floppy Knights was something special, even for them. It’s a tactical tale of a young inventor named Phoebe. Though she lives in a magical world of goblins and spellcasting, she’s a bit rebellious. She uses magic for a different sort of purpose – scientific discovery! This leads to her robotic arm/ally Carlton, and her titular Floppy Knights, which are hard light holograms created from floppy disks. The game follows her misadventures through this world, full of whimsy, humor, and wonder. Keep reading this Floppy Knights review to discover why this is one of the best tactical adventures I’ve played in some time.

 

Just a Girl and Her Robot Arm

 

Floppy Knights | Phoebe and Carlton

From my past experience with the game, I thought the plot would primarily focus on Phoebe’s dream of winning the Science Fair. She still lives with her parents, and is looking for that big cash reward to move out. Her parents just want her to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a successful blacksmith. But Phoebe wants to live her own life. Which sets her on a series of goofy quests to earn some quick cash, and then she finds herself pitted against some stiff competition in the form of rivals Alex and Snarlton. To my surprise, that storyline peters out pretty quickly, and then Phoebe finds herself on a new quest against a mysterious robotic adversary.

Floppy Knights | Friends

While the narrative is hardly the most vital aspect of the game, it is charming and features some really endearing side characters. First and foremost is a big, bulky goofball named Bernard that’s anxious and terrified of everything. He repeatedly finds himself in the middle of bad situations, leaving Phoebe and Carlton to get him to safety. You’ll also interact with many minor characters, like plant-thieving goblins and perplexed rock folk. But honestly, the majority of the dialogue is between Phoebe and Carlton, and it’s sure to put smiles on the faces of even the most jaded gamers out there.

 

A Mixture of Tactics and Cards

 

Floppy Knights | Checkpoint Card

That’s all good and well, but the most important aspect of any tactical game is the actual gameplay. I’m happy to report that Floppy Knights has really fantastic gameplay that’s easy to learn, yet hard to master. You’ll place a Commander card from your deck at the start of every battle. Every turn, your Commander generates a card unique to them and adds it to your hand. You have a set amount of energy to play cards every turn, though there are ways to create more energy with specific cards. You have to play cards to move your units, but they can each declare one attack for free every turn. If you want to attack more than once, you’ll need a card that allows additional attacks, of which there are many. Keep in mind that if your Commander bites the dust, you lose the mission. So while they are powerful and useful units, you also have to be very careful to protect them from getting surrounded and defeated.

Floppy Knights | Deck Building

There are three types of decks in the game. You start with Plants, but eventually also unlock Monsters and Hooligans. Each deck has a unique gimmick, though there’s definitely crossover between themes. Plants can evolve cards into more potent forms and are also adept at healing damage. Monsters are brutes that pay health to draw additional cards and move farther, and some get stronger when they’re at really low health. Hooligans are the trickiest, and I admit I’m still mastering how to use them. They have huge risk vs. reward playstyles, and they’re the only deck that I drew more than the maximum number of cards in a turn, which turns out to be 15.

Floppy Knights | Shop

The great thing is you can mix and match cards from each deck theme in the other decks, except for the Commanders. Each theme has a couple of different Commanders you can unlock, and they all provide very distinct ways to play the game. Plants start with Captain Thistle, who is strong and always on the attack. But Plant decks can also use Vera, who heals all your units every turn and generates cards that move and heal units every turn. I personally enjoyed using healing Plant cards in Monster decks to get around the steep costs of some Monster cards, and using Monster cards in Hooligan decks to give me more chances to attack. There’s a lot of complexity, and I only scratched the surface in my time with the game.

Floppy Knights | Hooligan Deck

Hooligan Decks can draw cards like crazy.

On the topic of complexity, here’s some more. Whenever you summon a monster card to the field of battle, they’ll, in turn, generate their own cards. These aren’t unlike the ones generated by your Commander. The key difference is many of these cards remain in your deck even if the monster that created them is destroyed. When that happens, a Waste card will be added to your deck, along with a copy of the destroyed monster. Waste cards do nothing but take up space and require a little energy to remove from your deck. There are also some cool cards that flip over when you play them and transform into a different card, like Reap turning into Sow. It’s best to pay close attention to card descriptions before you play them, though you’ll learn a lot of the nuance just by playing different cards. And if you want more control over the cards in your decks, you can create your own cards with cash or find some in missions as rewards.

 

A Colorful Fantasy World

 

Floppy Knights | Level Select

There are several areas in the game, and each is comprised of 4 levels each. While you’re totally fine just beating a level and moving onto the next, the developers smartly included optional objectives in each one. Some aren’t that hard, such as reaching an item before a foe steals it. But others will make your life hell, such as beating some levels without losing any units, or taking and holding a position for a specific amount of turns. Generally, the last level of any area is the hardest, but not always. Even better, the game constantly adds new features to keep things fresh, such as boss battles and even fog of war.

Floppy Knights | Challenge Levels

If that wasn’t enough, there are optional challenge levels you can try your luck against. They start out pretty tame, and ramp up very quickly. Many are basically crueler versions of regular levels, like one accurately named the No-Fun Zone. But if you think the main game is too easy, or are just looking for a way to get more cash, I’d definitely spend some time playing the challenge levels.

 

Hard Light, Soft Colors

 

Floppy Knights | Winners

What brings the entire experience together in one cohesive package is the artwork and music. If you’ve played Dicey Dungeons before, you’ll probably recognize the stellar artwork of Marlowe Dobbe. It’s bright, colorful, and full of spunk. It makes it a joy to not only play the game, but even just read the dialogue. There are a ton of great Floppy Knights, but my favorite is probably Teen Spirit, a skateboarding ghost. But not to be outdone is the music by Grahm Nesbitt of Garden Story fame. Every musical track is full of joyous energy, and it makes it so you’ll never get bored by what you’re hearing. Combined, the art and music make Floppy Knights even better.

 

Only a Couple Glitches

 

Floppy Knights | New Foe

I have very few complaints about the game, though there are a couple of niggling issues. While I love how you can skip dialogue after seeing it once, it’s irritating you can’t also skip mission tutorials where they explain the goal of a level. And though I enjoyed my time with the game and felt the challenge was mostly well-tuned, it’s unavoidable that it’s a pretty quick burn without a ton of replay value. I mean, you can try your hand at levels with different deck builds, but you can only get rewards the first time you beat a level or optional objective. Other than these quibbles, this is a fantastic experience.

 

Don’t Flip Flop On This Adventure

 

While it’s true Floppy Knights isn’t quite a perfect experience, it came damned close. Sure, I’d love a reason to play the game longer, such as DLC levels or even something like a level creator, but that doesn’t change the quality of what’s already here. Floppy Knights is a fun game with a well-balanced challenge, good variety, and lovable characters. Even better, the whole thing plays remarkably well with just a mouse, though there are other controller options as well. So if you enjoy tactical mayhem and are looking for the next best thing, be sure and add this one to your Steam library.


Final Verdict: 4.5/5

Available on: PC (reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S; Publisher: Rose City Games, wiip; Developer: Rose City Games; Players: 1; Released: May 24, 2022; MSRP: $19.99

Editor’s note: The publisher provided a review copy to Hey Poor Player.

Josh Speer
Got my start in the industry at oprainfall, but been a game fanatic since I was young. Indie / niche advocate and fan of classics like Mega Man, Castlevania and Super Metroid. Enjoys many genres, including platformers, turn based / tactical RPGs, rhythm and much more. Champion of PAX West and Knight of E3.

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