On the one hand, King of Thieves is really quite a fun PvP-focused platforming multiplayer game. On the other hand, it’s the perfect example of freemium gaming done poorly and to the detriment of its players.
The idea behind King of Thieves is a pretty clever one: you’re a dungeon owning thief who wants to infiltrate other players’ dungeons in order to steal their ill-gotten gains. You have to overcome various obstacles and traps by leaping over them. That’s when King of Thieves switches to a kind of auto-runner, with your thief running off by himself and you able to manipulate when he jumps. It’s a simple method but it works fairly well in offering bite sized chunks of a fun, challenging platformer.
The satisfaction in overcoming a particularly tough dungeon is fun, too. By gaining more money, you can then equip your dungeon to be even harder for your enemies to infiltrate. You also gain gems, which go towards your overall leaderboard level and add a competitive element to the whole thing. Rather appropriately, you have to be able to complete your own dungeon twice in order to set it up that way, ensuring your progression is dictated by your skill level as well as anything you’ve gained along the way. There’s a single player campaign as well as PvP, with the former unlocking content that proves useful in the latter.
So far, so good, right? There’s a catch though, and they’re called keys. Keys are used to crack your way into dungeons, which makes sense. You only have a finite number of keys at any one time, before having to wait for them to refresh (much like an energy system). The problem is that picking the locks of a dungeon is entirely random. You have to tap on each lock and hope for the best. It’s very easy to use up most of your keys just trying to crack into one dungeon. You can watch ads to gain more keys, but it’s oh so very tedious and counterintuitive to an otherwise fun affair. Plus, it all feels quite unfair and long-winded.
If you could pay up to get rid of such a thing permanently, King of Thieves would be worth it. It’s a pretty fun game but it’s all too keen on taking your money or making you wait. There’s a fine line between offering reasonable freemium fare and going way too far. King of Thieves does the latter, and it unfortunately makes for a cautionary tale.