Killer Queen Black is a console adaptation to apparently a modern arcade cabinet hit, Killer Queen. I honestly had never heard of it before this weekend, but I saw some review of the Switch game and it immediately grabbed me.
First things first: This is an online only game, similar to something like Rocket League. Two teams of four face off against each other on a single screen platform, not unlike something like Joust (which there is some clear inspiration from). Each team has three ways to win: 1. Kill the other team's queen three times, 2. Collect 12 berries and bring them back to your base, or 3. Ride a snail to the finish line (kind of like a payload map in Overwatch or Team Fortress 2). Games are best 3 out of 5 rounds, and a full game is pretty quick - usually about 10 minutes so it's easy to play "just one more game."
You can either play as the queen (only one per team), or as a worker bee. The queen is super offensive, zipping around the stage and killing the other teams worker bees (which have infinite respawns) or dualing with their queen (only 3 lives). You also need to survive because the round is over if you lose 3 lives too! On top of that, you have to keep tagging these "gates" so that your worker bees can get some weapons as well! As a worker bee, your job is to collect berries or ride the snail. If you go to one of these "gates" to grab a weapon, you can no longer collect berries or ride the snail, but you can stop the opposing team from collecting berries or riding the snail.
I know this all seems quite complicated, but after completing the fairly brief yet very comprehensive tutorial, it all starts making sense. The game is chaotic fun because you are constantly juggling multiple objectives, and you can't play offense and defense at the same time. The game balance is absolutely fantastic, and the gameplay mechanics are well designed. The downsides to this game is that it is online only, though you can play four players on the same console at once. I know that the online only aspect will turn off a lot of gamers here, as will the "2D indie platformer" aesthetic. But if you are looking for a fun, competitive, online game with some arcade sensibilities, this game is greater than the sum of it's parts. It's gameplay first, all the way, and an absolute blast.
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