There's a lot of indie games that fall under the radar, but Killer Queen Black, a port of what is probably the best arcade game in decades, does not deserve to be one of them. It's releasing on PC and Switch on October 11 of 2019 - and every indie connoisseur should be paying attention when it does.
Arcades aren't nearly as popular as the used to be, but even if you do occasionally visit one, there's a chance you've never seen Killer Queen. There are only about 70 publicly-available Killer Queen arcade cabinets in the world. They're all in the U.S., and only 27 states have them.
But if you walked into one of the few lucky locations with a cabinet, you almost certainly noticed it. It consists of two massive cabinets with large LCD screens, with controls for five players per cabinet. The screens show a pixelated, static screen with graphics oddly reminiscent of the old arcade classic Joust.
Playing the game is often pricey, but it's not uncommon for the cabinet to be crowded with players, because it's truly an experience you can't find in any other game there. It's a real-time strategy game, but it's also an action platformer, and it pits two teams against each other in an attempt to gather, ride, or slay their way to victory in a tense, frantic battle for control and resources.
Conceived as an entry to an indie arcade game contest at New York University, the game has since become a cult classic that has even spawned its own competitive league.
The new port keeps the gameplay more or less intact: Each team starts with Workers and a Queen, and they have to use quick wits and strategic thinking to either kill the opposing Queen three times, collect berries and bring them back to base, or ride the slow snail back home.
Unfortunately, the maximum number of players has dropped from ten to eight, and even that requires two Nintendo Switch consoles in local wireless mode to play. It'll also have online ranked play with skill-based matchmaking, and voice chat both on PC and Nintendo Switch.
The game is currently available for pre-order with a 15% discount in the Switch eShop, and for $19.99 on Discord - though Discord Nitro subscribers can get the game for free. The game will also be available on Steam and on the Humble Store.
A release for Xbox One is also planned, but its release date has not yet been announced.