From Zeptolab, makers of the adorable mobile puzzler Cut the Rope comes King of Thieves, an asynchronous multiplayer burglary competition to see can make me angry enough to burst a blood vessel.
Like a bite-sized Clash of Clans, King of Thieves is a game in which players create a base, set up defenses, and then watch the notification screen as player-after-player waltzes through your carefully-laid traps as if they weren't there, stealing your gems and lowering your rank on the leaderboards.
Rather than building up a slew of troops and sending them to another player's base to be slaughtered, King of Thieves takes a more approach to ruining other people's days—platforming.
In order to rob another player, you first have to unlock the door to their base, using up your stock of time-replenishing keys in the process. Once in your avatar must navigate the player-placed security system using simple touch-based platforming in order to reach their treasure and claim your prize. It's got a very Super Meat Boy vibe, which I adore.
While the art direction is 100 percent Cut the Rope, the gameplay is far removed from that relaxing puzzler. Platforming through perilous passageways requires pinpoint accuracy against more advanced players, and less advanced players are hardly worth raiding.
The overall goal of King of Thieves is to advance up the leaderboards by stealing other people's gems, all the while protecting your gem processing operation from intrusion. Rack up more points than other players before the round resets and its on to the next bracket. Join or create your own guild for some social backup.
I love the concept, but several aspects of King of Thieves' design are incredibly frustrating. For one, players who invest real cash in coins have a distinct advantage over other players. They'll be able to break into more opponents' bases more often, upgrade their base faster and generally amass points like a mad point-amassing machine.
Then there's the whole asynchronous multiplayer thing, a lovely concept that's executed in such a way that a wily player can easily keep others from raiding their stash.
Player is online. Player is under shield. Player is already under attack—that's a good one. Earlier today as I attempted to log on I got this one:
Oh, fuck you.
As I've typed this I've been raided three times by other players. Odds are those other players are still online, and there's nothing I can do to get them back until they aren't. I can only imagine the frustration grows the further I journey up the leaderboards, so why bother?
If you enjoy competitive multiplayer mobile games but grow tired of the same old Clash of Clans clones, King of Thieves is a breath of fresh air. It just so happens this breath of fresh air really makes me want to hit people.