Everything about Spiral Knights brings back memories of older 16 bit styled games such as Sol Blazer or Diablo. This seems to be largely intentional, and rather rewarding, as the game feels kind of like what would have happened if Streets of Rage and Diablo had a child that they entrusted into the care of a Free-to-Play MMO giant. But, it should come as no surprise that the game suffers from many of the same issues that other games in the “pay to play more” camp run into as well.
The default control mapping is an odd mouse and keyboard combo where the player drags their avatar around the map and clicks on both enemies to attack and potions to heal. When I first played through the tutorial it seemed to focus more on moving the character with the mouse and skimmed quickly over moving them with the WASD keys, which ended up feeling way more comfortable then holding the mouse button down and waiting for the character to get where he needed to go. On a whim, I connected an Xbox 360 controller to see if the game would recognize it, which it did instantly and started to control like a dream, sadly this was never discussed at any point before I randomly tried it.
Spiral Knights plays from a 3/4th overhead perspective with a large emphasis on loot drop. Added into the mix is the reliance on a combo system to do mass damage and some light physics puzzles to mix up the old school dungeon crawler. Oddly the characters themselves never really level up, instead the gear that can be crafted by picking up items throughout, getting better, or it becoming more effective with use, although this seems to be hampered mildly by the fact that some of the items push for repeated exploration which is a finite resource and can only be gained by either letting a character rest for some time or buying more energy for them with real world money.
The main way that the game ends up eating the