Spiral Knights is a free-to-play MMORPG that recently made its way to Steam on June 14th. It was developed by an independent company named Three Rings Design, known for their popular MMO Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates! In case you haven't played either of these, I strongly advise you to try them out.
The premise of Spiral Knights is pretty much a dungeon-crawler MMO. However, it really does work. You have your options: Play by yourself, or go with some friends as a team. I'll have you know that it is rather hard to complete some levels (I died numerous times from little fox things,) so I'd suggest grabbing some friends or random players to aid you in your journey.
All. The. Time.
You don't get to dungeon-crawl until you finish the tutorial and get to the city, though. About 20 minutes into the game, you find out about a mysterious thing known as "The Clockworks." This place pretty much runs the world, and it does so in real-time, meaning that if you play and finish a certain level type (poison, earth, or fire) and you go do something and come back an hour later, chances are that you will be in a totally different level type, and need to prepare accordingly.
So far, I've played for about two hours and haven't really gotten a chance to upgrade my armor. In order to upgrade, you'll need to get "recipes" and build your armor and weapons out of drops from monsters in the Clockworks. This seems to be the only way to upgrade, seeing as the merchants don't sell a lot of higher-powered level-specific upgrades.
As for the actual gameplay, it is pretty well-rounded. You can use both a sword and a gun to fight with using your mouse, which also doubles for movement. You can come across treasure chests to get new items for your recipes, and then mess up monsters even more! Certain weapons work better on specific types of monsters, and they leave that to you to discover.
You also pick up crowns as a type of currency, which drops in the shape of a coin. The bigger and shinier the coin, the more it's worth! You need at least 5,000 to get anything good, so you have to keep saving up!
The graphics are actually really good in a mix of kid-friendly and adult-likeable ways. It's a little cartoony and not as life-like, which really adds to the fun factor. But don't let that deter you from the game, as the game can DEFINITELY draw in some hardcore players.
Overall, I give the game 3.5 out of 4 mushrooms. Very well-deserving!
I was in no way, shape, or form compensated for this review. You, too, can play Spiral Knights via free download on the Steam platform at www.Steam.com. If you do, add me in-game as Mommonja and I'll definitely help you out!