There’s nothing like going to an arcade and when you are able to get that experience at home, it can be just as fun. Developer Bumblebear Games pushed out Killer Queen to actual arcades around the nation back in 2013. This 10-player strategy arcade game blends the likes of Joust and Mario Bros. together. Each team has a queen and some workers. The goal is to collect berries, kill the other team’s queen, or sneak a slow snail across the bottom of the map to the finish line. Bumblebear Games is bringing this experience to the Nintendo Switch with Killer Queen Black. This version will be 8-player with up to four on one Switch. 8-player is achieved by either ad-hoc or online play. The game will also be available on PC. We got some time with the game at E3 2018 and talked with Josh DeBonis about the transition.
We spoke to Josh about what it meant to bring this game outside of the arcades and into the home with the Switch and PC. “This is the first opportunity that a lot of people are going to have to play the game,” he said. “Before this, there were only about 100 cabinets to play Killer Queen on. Now, anybody with a Switch can play it from home. It’s going to really expand the accessibility of the game and also, it’s a new game. You can play it multiple times and get something new out of it.”
The choice for using the Switch was a good idea according to DeBonis. “We feel the Switch is a good fit for the game for a couple of reasons. Culturally, it matches the gameplay. It’s a social game. It can be played both casually and competitively, side-by-side. One can play aggressively and hardcore and a friend can play it for the first time just having fun. I think that’s really just a good fit. Also, the hardware was a good fit. The joy-con for it are perfect controllers and relatively inexpensive to get more. You can play it at home and is quick enough to have on the go if you just want to play one match.” Being the original designer of the game, Josh is also a fan. “Sometimes you finish games and you’re tired of them,” Josh said. “This game is still fun afterwards and I actually play competitively. I lose, but still enter competitions.”
The art behind the game is driven by old-school graphics. Josh wanted it this way and while Killer Queen Black will look more akin to a game from the 90’s, the original was still 8-bit. Not modernizing the visuals was the intention for Josh, and it works. “The original had an 8-bit style to it. It looks like a game from the 80’s. This is more of a 16-bit style. There’s a couple reasons we changed. One, we wanted to show that it is actually a different game, but still feel retro. It just has more polish. So, having higher fidelity to the game means we had more of a nuance with different artists. We have had more time and resources to put into the artwork than the original. The original wasn’t meant to be a commercial product.”
Josh stated the company will plan to move the game on to the other platforms outside of Switch and PC. The goal right now are these two platforms and it will launch this Winter. Playing the game amounted in a lot of fun. One player is the queen and the other three are the workers. Workers can be upgraded and attack the other team’s units. It’s very fast paced and controls like a true arcade game with the Joy-cons. Set up on two different tv’s and switches, four people packed in front of both. The competition is fast and the game gets competitive very quickly. If the team is able to replicate that experience from E3 2018, this will be pure joy to have in homes. Check out the screenshots below.