Floppy Knights is a turn-based tactics game inspired by Advance Wars – with deckbuilding and card strategy elements – that you really have to check out! This game is set in a vibrant fantasy world full of magic where you take on the role of Phoebe, a talented inventor, as well as Carlton, her bionic-arm/best friend. To save enough money to be able to move out of your parents’ place, Phoebe invents the so-called Floppy Knights, tangible projections that are summoned from floppy disks that you inject into Carlton, and sends them to complete odd jobs around town and help people, earning money in the process. The setting overall is pretty adorable – and just like the game’s difficulty very approachable, which is quite fun. Also, it’s nice to see retro-tech meeting up with fantasy like this, fighting vegetarian goblins and slimes and stuff with holo-plants and other creatures summoned from… floppy disks of all things. Hence, I’m quite excited to be able to present this today!
Developer: Rose City Games Publisher: Rose City Games, wiip Genre: Indie, Strategy, Deckbuilding, Tactics, Card Battler Release Date: May 24th, 2022 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC Copy was provided by the publisher.
The core gameplay consists of you traversing various worlds (and a total of 27 levels and 24 additional challenges) so that you can help out the people of the world. The first world takes place at a farm near a forest where vegetarian goblins are ravaging the fields and stealing the farmers’ vegetables. Hence, you gotta chase them off and defeat them for good – or at least try to! Combat is very tactical and involves a lot of planning ahead and thinking about possible risks. I had to use some advanced stall tactics in one game, passing turns to heal up and charging in, attacking once, and backing out immediately just because I wasn’t prepared enough for one level… but I ended up somehow turning the tables and winning the level, which felt incredibly great! But for starters, I should probably explain how you have a deck consisting of 12 to 30 cards that you can play to make your units move or attack. Units also get a free attack each turn – “free” meaning that this doesn’t require a card or energy. The deck you build is centred around a so-called “commander”, a unit that is special due to their ability to generate unique cards every turn – and they’re also the key to winning or losing battles, most of the time. Lose this commander unit, and you lose the battle. Captain Thistle – the commander you get at the beginning of the game – cycles the “Plow Ahead” card into your hand at every turn, giving you more manoeuvrability, while other commanders may even have unique abilities like heals for your other units at the cost of lower stats.
Other cards in your deck consist of move cards, attack cards, extra units that you can summon, and buffs for your units or other cards. As you progress through the story, you earn currency that allows you to “craft” new cards and as you progress through the story, you’ll also unlock different decks that focus on different playstyles. The Hooligans, for instance, are fast and poisonous while Monsters play around trading HP for buffs. The Plants Deck that you start out with, though, isn’t too weak either, granting you bonuses for specific terrains as well as allowing you to heal allies and upgrade cards. While the game revolves to a degree around building up a strong deck or developing interesting strategies, the tactical side of things is the main aspect to keep an eye on. There aren’t many “bad decks” and even if you get a bad draw from time to time, the game is more than forgiving, allowing you to still try the level again even if you lost. This isn’t a roguelike after all, right? And it’s honestly quite refreshing to see deckbuilding in a non-roguelike for once.
And that comparison isn’t too far off, I believe, as Floppy Knights reminds me in some places of card-based roguelike titles like Slay the Spire and Necronator: Dead Wrong, at least when it comes to the card design and the interactions between specific effects. Regardless of that, though, it’s still incredibly unique overall. Yes, you still have certain limiters to your cards like energy (indicated by batteries) as well as hit points and of course, Floppy Knights doesn’t reinvent the tactics formula but this game feels incredibly imaginative and creative, especially with its story. All the plot points are rather… family-friendly, I’d say, while the world itself is rather colourful and jolly. That kind of extends to the game’s difficulty as well, in a way, as it has its challenges and intricacies from time to time, especially when you want to complete the bonus goals as well. Still, overall, I didn’t find the game too punishing or difficult. This sort of approachable difficulty, design and story is kind of what I need in terms of tactics games. Games like XCOM2 are incredibly punishing with some of your units ending up dead for good. Meanwhile, other games feel so dark and gloomy, so it’s honestly just nice to have quirky and lovable characters in this game (with art by Marlowe Dobbe, the artist of Dicey Dungeons!!). At the same time, the retro-inspired soundtrack never really got onto my nerves or anything. It’s pretty relaxing and sounds cool and I feel like Grahm Nesbitt (composer for Garden Story) did an amazing job here, too.
All of this combined makes Floppy Knights feel fresh and not too intimidating, which is a big plus in my book, especially for tactics games that often end up overwhelming you with information or giving you so many challenges to overcome, which then often ends up feeling as if the whole game is a hurdle to overcome… Floppy Knights is wholesome and quirky and frankly, a good time. I love the developers of The World Next Door worked together with the Composer for Garden Story as well as the artist of Dicey Dungeons to create something interesting like this. All of it just seems to fit together and I highly recommend checking Floppy Knights out for yourself if you’re interested in a new card-based tactics game that offers you a good time paired with approachable challenges and interesting deckbuilding mechanics!