Throw on your bycocket and fight the good fight against the Sheriff of Nottingham in this text-based adventure-strategy that offers a new take on the tale of Robin of Locksley and his Merry Men.
Developer: Andrew G. Schneider
Publisher: Andrew G. Schneider
Release date: 20 April, 2019
Robin Hood has long been one of my favorite legends. The struggle between his varied and entertaining Merry Men and the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham has been one that’s seen many different versions over the years, and much like Arthurian legends, it seems to be different from each source that you hear it. Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood takes this age-old classic and puts a fresh twist on it that continues my fortunate trend of playing only good Robin Hood games while somehow missing the shoddy ones entirely.
A Familiar Story Retold
Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood is a text-based adventure-strategy game that fulfils its requirement of being written very well. Nearly every page is ‘exciting’ and every slice-of-life moment has a deeper connection to the story that keeps it from becoming dull like so many other novel-styled titles. The world itself finds a nice middle ground between the utterly fantastic and the realistically mundane. Robin of Locksley’s rise from that of a wealthy landowner to that of the leader of the Merry Men is thrilling as choice comes into play immediately and never goes away. For those who would prefer, after the first segment, you even have the option to break out a big reveal that Robin of Locksley is a woman.
Running into the famed Merry Men for the first time is exciting in and of itself as well. Facing off against Little John on the bridge comes to mind, where you are able to engage him in staff combat on the iconic log unless of course you pay him off with gold or talk him into joining your band without knocking him into the river. Maid Marian plays a large role in assisting Robin from the start, acting as something of a secondary leader and accountant for the band. She will frequently be updating you on the current state of your camp, its men, and your allies and enemies in the world outside of Sherwood Forest.
Speaking of your camp, as events unfold, you’ll eventually be given the opportunity to get a camp of your own up and running. Three options exist for where to build it (a dragon’s cave, in the treetops, or in a stone tower), though you’ll be able to expand its function and capabilities based upon the decisions you make in regard to your resources.
These resources come in four types: gold, renown, men, and power. Gold is used as you might expect; purchases and bribes. Renown is your influence and is used to persuade others to take action of your choosing. Men represent the size of the Merry Men and are usually a resource that is temporarily depleted for your projects before they return. Finally, power is an abstract supernatural force that allows you to shift events in your favour. You’ll have to strike a balance between these resources, sometimes getting what you want and other times taking the ‘L’ if you want to find success. Early on, I often blew through these resources with options that I thought were ideal only to realize a short time later that they would’ve better served my goals elsewhere.
It’s a challenge to review Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood without spoiling the impressive story within. It’s clear that the writer knew what they were doing, though, as they pay homage to legend of Robin Hood while still creating a brand new experience that both those knowledgable and new to the myth can enjoy. One moment you’ll be fighting for control of Sherwood Forest from the bandits that occupy it and the next you’ll have a group of ogres joining your band to assist you in protecting the forest from the ambitious and greedy hands of Prince John. If you enjoy text adventures with a strong strategic element, Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood manages to pull this off quite well. If you’re looking for an action-packed title that requires quick reflexes, you’re in the wrong place.
If you’re interested in playing Nocked! you may be in luck! Ask JimDeadlock on our Discord server and he may have a free key for you, if you’re quick!