I breathed a sigh of relief as my plant warriors finally unlatched the gelatinous boss from the volcano, sending it hurtling to its doom.
Floppy Knights is an interesting blend of grid-based tactics and deck building, focusing on quick missions that put your skills to the test. It’s all linked by an absurdly charming art style and a story that never gets too complex but manages to be equally charming.
In Floppy Knights you play as Phoebe, a brilliant 16-year-old inventor who wants to save up enough money to move out of her parent’s house. To that end, she invents the Floppy Knights system, which lets her create plant soldiers so she can complete tasks around town, and win the prize for the science fair.
Phoebe is accompanied by her sentient computer arm Carlton, and the dynamic between the two makes up most of the comedic relief of Floppy Knights. Dialogue is quick and snappy with a tongue-in-cheek slant, which reinforces the core philosophy of the game, to do something specific and do it well.
As you travel around a world map, the game is made up of 27 different story missions and 24 challenge missions. Don’t go in expecting the lengthy dozens of hours that many tactical RPGs are known for, however, as Floppy Knights like to keep things light. Each level essentially feels like a puzzle, where you need to piece together the right cards in order to complete the objective.
On each turn, you have a pool of five energy, and each card has an energy cost to use. The main focus of your deck is the commander card, which you have to place on the field at the beginning. Each commander has their own special perks and a special card that they can use each turn, but if the commander falls it’s game over.
There’s a core set of rules that apply across the board, like each unit having one attack per turn but needing to use an attack card to do another. Past that, however, the variety of cards can greatly influence how you approach battles. You have unit cards that you can summon, healing cards, special attack cards, and more. There’s a massive variety of cards that you’ll earn along the way, all of which can contribute to specialized decks.
At the same time, you’ll unlock two other decks later on that represent other factions, and you can even mix and match cards as you see fit. There’s a staggering amount of choice in Floppy Knights, and that’s great, but in a way, it feels like you simply don’t have enough time to explore all the options.
It’s not necessarily the length of the missions themselves, but how many there are. It just feels like the combat system doesn’t get enough room to breathe and expand naturally. The card variety is great, but more missions or options would have allowed the entire thing to breathe more. In the end, though, it’s a small quibble against a strong core gameplay system. The game also does a good job of ramping up the difficulty and only has a couple of examples of notable difficulty spikes.
What helps Floppy Knights excel even more is its unique sense of style. The cartoony hand-drawn art style is done by the same art director as Dicey Dungeons, Marlowe Dobbe, and it absolutely works wonders here. The plant soldiers feel vaguely reminiscent of Plants vs. Zombies, but there’s a sort of low-budget Saturday morning cartoon feel. The retro-inspired soundtrack also helps contribute to that feeling, written by Garden Story composer Grahm Nesbitt.
Floppy Knights is a charming experience that brings something unique to the table, even though it doesn’t reinvent the wheel for either of its genres. I do wish there was a little more meat to the experience, and despite the charming writing the story simply lacks a strong core. Despite that, however, it’s a journey that’s well worth taking, especially if you’re a fan of tactical games or deck builders.
Floppy Knights is available now for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Inverse reviewed the game on PC.
INVERSE VIDEO GAME REVIEW ETHOS: Every Inverse video game review answers two questions: Is this game worth your time? Are you getting what you pay for? We have no tolerance for endless fetch quests, clunky mechanics, or bugs that dilute the experience. We care deeply about a game’s design, world-building, character arcs, and storytelling come together. Inverse will never punch down, but we aren’t afraid to punch up. We love magic and science-fiction in equal measure, and as much as we love experiencing rich stories and worlds through games, we won’t ignore the real-world context in which those games are made.