Portal Knights (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 12.08.2018

Review for Portal Knights on Nintendo Switch

As soon as a game does exceptionally well, the clones begin to arrive in abundance. It's never more evident than today with the current obsession of Battle Royale modes. For a while, not too long ago, the focus was on the Minecraft clones. However, for some, the term clone was rather disparaging. Games like Dragon Quest Builders took the core elements and made something different; something special. Nintendo Switch has already received a few of these type of games, but now Cubed3 looks back at Portal Knights. Already enjoyed here on PlayStation 4, how does it hold up on its new Switch port?

To survive as a "clone," the new game either has to do things better than the original or add its own special flavour to keep things interesting. Portal Knights goes the same route as a handful of the best "Minecraft Clones," like LEGO Worlds and Dragon Quest Builders, in that it doesn't give a single huge world to explore, but rather multiple ones that can be jumped through via the titular "Portals."

Defeating enemies on each of these worlds and gathering resources gives a chance to find shards of Portal Stones, and gathering enough of these means full Portal Stones can be crafted. These can then be used to open a portal to the next world once the doorway for the world has been found. These shards come very quickly at the beginning, when they just consist of blue portals and blue shards - so much so that despite each of the starting worlds having a couple of NPCs with side-quests and various different resources to play with the crafting, it's easy enough to fly through the first few worlds.

Screenshot for Portal Knights on Nintendo Switch

These worlds have diverse biotopes. There are desert worlds with towering cacti, rich forests, and medieval castles. Exploiting the resources of each is key to making the most of the game. Mining up copper ore in the desert, chopping down the trees in forests, and taking stone from the sides of buildings - it's fun at first, unlocking new craftables, then heading back to earlier worlds to track down that one little item, it's intrinsically addictive. But, as the game progresses it really loses its way, falling into a terrible amount of grinding at about three quarters of the way through. Finding other colours of portal bricks becomes horrendous and required pieces of equipment take a ton of materials.

The crafting itself is enjoyable enough, and there are merchants that sell deeds to nice open space worlds made entirely to freely build a home base. The basic workbench from the beginning of the game can craft numerous specialist crafting stations, forges can mould bars of metals, and a drafting cable can be used to produce decorative aspects of the home base; not to mention specific stations for creating the weapons of each class - such as an archery station for the Rogue. Plenty to keep the crafters busy, whether they be interested in maxing out stats or building whatever their inspiration desires.

Screenshot for Portal Knights on Nintendo Switch

Outside of these familiar elements of crafting and exploring, Portal Knights focuses on adding some ARPG elements to the mix. Upon starting the game, there are three classes to choose from: Rogue, Warrior, or Mage, followed by a simple little character creator. It offers up a handful of eyes, haircuts, mouths, and ears, which deliver ugly, little, monkey-looking, chibi characters. NPCs all share the same style and speak in some strange Simlish style language. This gruesome little character has all the attributes of a simple RPG character, with Stam, Dex, Int et al, and progressing gives points to increase these attributes, along with giving points to unlock special class specific skills.

The combat system is very basic, with just an attack and dodge to begin. Most enemies are easily abused by making use of the terrain to break line of sight or get enemies stuck on little outcroppings, and the AI will more often than not be satisfied to stand there taking punishment. Thankfully, later in the game the enemies begin to offer more of a challenge, moving quicker and quicker, packing groups close together instead of individuals that can be picked off, and dealing silly amounts of damage. The best way to take on this extra level of difficulty is by staying on top of the crafting, and developing more powerful equipment, along with special attacks. These also become a necessity with the bosses that periodically appear here and there through the worlds.

Screenshot for Portal Knights on Nintendo Switch

Another way to overcome the enemies in each world is by getting some help. There's online multiplayer available with full drop-in, drop-out. It makes the combat infinitely easier, but the crafting much harder as resources need to be split between the party.

Being a Switch port, this version gives a new way to play that none of the others have offered: portably. The big screen docked version is comparable in every way to its PlayStation and Xbox counterparts, but the portable version is a great fit, letting players go farm some food or mine some stone, or add that extra wing onto their castle while on the commute. The touchscreen is a great help, too, when it comes to quickly switching between elements in the inventory and on the quick bar - even making it easier on aiming where to place the bricks.

Screenshot for Portal Knights on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Unlike most Minecraft clones, Portal Knights delivers an experience wholly its own and for the most part it succeeds. Playing through the main story is a highly enjoyable experience and for those who are looking for a new sandbox to build in. The home worlds allow the freedom to craft to your heart's content. It's even better with friends, too. The inclusion of co-op was a very wise choice and gives yet another element to elevate it above its competitors.




505 Games


Real Time RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?

There are 1 members online at the moment.