Killer Queen Black Review

After hearing so much praise about the game from those in the US who were able to play it in bars (in the Before Times), I was super keen to try my hand at Killer Queen Black, the home console port originally appearing on the Switch last year. I can safely say that I was not disappointed at all; KQB is an absolute blast with friends, and a title that anyone with Game Pass should not sleep on.

The basic premise is pretty simple; two teams of four battle it out to gain victory in one of three ways. Firstly, we can kill the opposing team’s Queen three times. Each team only has one player controlled Queen, and it falls to both them and the surrounding players to protect her at all costs. While the Queen is quick and able to defend herself, one hit is enough to cost a life point.

The soldiers that remain then have a conundrum on their hands. Protecting the Queen is vital, but focusing solely on that exposes us to the two other ways to win. The soldiers in their default state cannot fly or attack; instead they can jump and collect the berries that are scattered around. These berries serve two purposes; either put them in your home base in order to fill up the board and win the round, or take them to the pods dotted around in order to morph into one of several stronger beings at the cost of not being able to continue to collect the berries, or ride the snail.

Out of the 5 games we had picked for Project Game Pass this was my possible least favourite. However once I actually started playing Killer Queen Black it’s fun. You have 3 different ways to win, which is REALLY handy as I was a terrible queen and found trying to kill the opponents queen difficult.
Whether you’re into team based games or not Killer Queen Black is definitely worth your time, I hear you say why? It’s on Game Pass, if you’re a member it’s free for you to try and if you don’t like it, you can move on to another title.

Dan – @chocolatebear80

Yes, the third path to victory is to ride the giant snail to your team’s goal point. This is, as you’d expect, painfully slow but it can lead to anything but slow action as the teams converge to prevent the snail from moving on way or another. Soldiers can sacrifice themselves to slow it down further, but they’ll need to transform to get the rider off if the Queen is unable to get to them, thus preventing them from then riding it themselves.

Teamwork is key here, and being able to be flexible enough to chop and change as the round progresses is essential. The action is fast and hectic, yet outside of the first few steps into the game it is easy to read and understand. Setting each player a goal works well – you go to the snail with the Queen while we transform to fight back too – is ideal, but again constant communication is needed for victory.

There are a handful of maps to play on, each offering slight variations on the core gameplay. Some let us drop through the bottom and appear at the top, while others are slightly trickier for the soldiers to jump around on. Patches of grass slow players down, while certain surfaces are only usable when riding the snail. Games are best of three, so we get to experience a good range of them in only a few games.

All this is to say, Killer Queen Black is a lot of fun. Matches quickly devolve into arguments as players don’t follow the roles properly, or a Queen gets too brave and ends up costing the team the match. Rounds are over quickly for the most part, and the tension as we’re nearing a win with either or the three options is palpable. Get a few friends together and it is an absolute blast. We’re able to play online with a squad of four, or can set up custom lobbies with eight players where it’s possible to randomise teams after each game to keep things interesting. That it is on Game Pass gives it the best chance possible for a decent community, though in the time I played I still found a few games where AI filled in the empty player spots unfortunately. It also features cross play so I can only hope that it will be a late bloomer. It’d be a shame for such an awesome game to slip through the cracks.

Conclusion

Killer Queen Black is pure, joyous fun. Get together with a group of friends and you’re guaranteed to have an absolute blast. There’s not too much to learn in terms of mechanics, but that doesn’t stop each game feeling fresh and different. It’s on Game Pass, and features cross play, so I’m hoping it can gather more of a community that it seems to have now. If it does, I can see KQB having a long life. Please, please check it out!

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This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.
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Good
  • Three ways to win make each game a tense battle
  • Fast, fluid gameplay
  • Lovely looking pixel art and brilliant music
Bad
  • Seems to be a lack of a community at the minute, which is a shame
9
Excellent
Gameplay - 9
Graphics - 9
Audio - 9
Longevity - 9
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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