by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Though a child of the 80s, I missed out on the Golden Age of gaming, with the Commodore and the Atari. I began with Nintendo and did not really get into PC gaming until my teens, thanks to friends with PCs. Fit For a King by Kitfox Games is something genuinely special. Have you ever wanted to play a “King Henry VIII” simulator? Well, here’s your chance! Fit For a King is as short or long as you want it to, and despite being done in the Commodore/80s PC style, using text commands, you have a surprising amount of freedom; if you want it, anyway. The ultimate goal is an upcoming summit with your Rival (which you also get to name). You start as a King or Queen and get to name your spouse as well. They could be your only love, or they could be one of many.
It’s hard to really pin down what Fit For a King is, though. It’s a sandbox game with puzzle elements, but it has a clear, defined story. I suppose it is whatever you want it to be, which is sort of a cool concept. Unlike most games, you can end Fit For a King whenever you want to. You could spend a few hours then decide to give the ending a whirl. Your Rival will judge you harshly though. If you don’t pick up all of the stuff you need for the summit, he will win, and you will lose. The summit’s purpose isn’t peace or an alliance. It’s not to make the world better. Remember, I said this is a King Henry VIII simulator: It’s all about spending that money! That’s right, this summit is all about showing that you are wealthier than your Rival.
You’ll need certain items to win the summit, but they all cost money. As a King, this should be nice and easy, but someone lost the keys to the treasury, so you have to go find the money. There are treasure chests hidden throughout this little sandbox, and it’s in the manner of a puzzle to find them. Here’s what I really like, having to explore and find your way to the money. You’ll also have to collect taxes from people. Whether they’re dirt-grubbing peasants or visiting nobility, feel free to try and collect taxes from everyone you meet. The Guards won’t pay you, but they will recommend people you can still tax. This led me to marry a Witch, and one of the nobles. I taxed them, then wed them. Wedding multiple people, you say?
In Fit For a King, if you have the money, you can reform the church. You can start making people churchmen, but more importantly, you can make it legal to marry people, animals, and objects. Fancy that mirror, because the person staring back at you is one sexy beast? With enough money, that marriage can become a reality. This takes away from the money you need to enjoy your summit, but perhaps a nearby sultan has some money you can pilfer. The game does not tell you exactly what you need to do or where you can go, it’s up to you to figure out, just like the classic games of yore. It reminds me of Ultima, except it’s not a morality play. In Fit For a King, morality is whatever you decree it is. This includes killing people!
That’s right, you can execute whomever you see fit. I executed my Rival’s messenger because he was standing in my way. The Guard that was preventing me from heading into the wilderness (because there are bears about)? Yeah, right to the chopping block with him. That pile of refuse sitting in my way in the middle of my town square? That’s right. EXECUTED. There is no mercy in my dojo. Animals, people, who may or may not have committed any crime against the Crown? If you say they did, they did! You are the Judge, Executioner, Jury, Executioner, and when appropriate, the Executioner. This will be remembered at the end of the game though. The people will remember your legacy, for good or ill.
When you’ve talked, coerced, married, killed and explored to your content, you can head to the summit. Once you walk across the summit area, the other King/Queen will judge you accordingly. If you got everything you needed, you can show that chump who the real power is. Then, the game will tally up your deeds and inform you how the people will remember you. It will discuss your harem, the occasional bear that killed you, and what those that survived you did. I loved this because I really just sort of married people at random. Everyone still did something interesting. The writing for this game is excellent, and I can tell the team did their homework on this 80s genre of PC game. The sound loop is solid, and the graphics are exactly what I expected them to be.
It’s A Few Hours of Fun: 4/5:
With all sincerity, it may seem like a weird pick, but I love this game. Fit For a King has replayability in unexpected ways. There are plenty of people to marry and kill, and you can always try to do better (or do worse) in a new playthrough. The land is your oyster, and I just cannot say enough good things about it. The only critiques are minor ones. If you aren’t used to or familiar with old-school PC game commands, this might feel clunky, or even annoying. You might not know what to say to people to trigger hints and clues, because you definitely should talk to everyone. It’s also a bit on the short side, but you can stretch it out a bit via exploration. Despite these potential shortcomings, the game is fun, the concept is fantastic, and I can see a lot of people really loving this. You can do a lot with it, and for such a strange idea, it’s implemented expertly. It’s precisely what I thought it was. Long Live the King!