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Killer Queen Black Review: God Slay the Queen

/ Nov 8th, 2019 No Comments

Killer Queen Black Review

Killer Queen is a game many have heard about undoubtedly. However, many may have not had the fortune of a local arcade with 2 cabinets for chaotic 5v5 action. That is going to change.

Killer Queen Black brings the core gameplay of the arcade original to the home. It features gorgeous SNES-esque graphics and a more manageable 4v4 set-up. With dedicated online play, you and friends or strangers can learn to mix it up in casual or ranked play.

3 Paths

Killer Queen Black is intently aware you may have never played its predecessor. It features a robust tutorial that shows players the in-and-outs of the gameplay. This is great even if you’ve played Killer Queen a bunch. There are a lot of fantastic tips to understand ways to play as a worker, soldier and queen.

Much of the focus is on the paths to victory. Killer Queen Black is all about 3 different paths for winning: Military, Economic, and Snail. Knowing how these victories work is super important, but it uses these teachable moments to elucidate on gameplay nuances.

Military victory is about showing dominance in combat. It can be achieved by taking the 3 lives of the other team’s queen. A queen can be killed by another queen and soldiers.

Killer Queen Black Review
Military victory is all about taking out the other team’s queen.

Soldiers are workers who gain combat prowess: sword, mace and gun, by entering a chamber holding a berry. These chambers can be neutral or controlled by a team when a queen touches down on it. Smartly controlling these chamber zones is important to a military victory, but it also factors into the other victory paths as well.

Economic victory is a worker centric victory. It works best with multiple workers cooperating together. The map is full of berries scattered in piles across it. 

A team can get an economic victory by returning these berries to your team’s hive, and filling up the hive with purple berries. When the last berry is returned you’ve ensured an Economic victory.

While most soldiers are offensive, one focuses on support for the other paths to victory. By using the super charge job you can speed up your worker to move faster. This can help collect berries faster, but mostly aids in the Snail victory.

Killer Queen Black Review
Snail victory means you gotta ride that snail!

The final victory path is Snail. What the *#€£ does that mean? This might be the easiest to understand. 

On the map, there is one Snail. It can only be ridden by a worker, and it will automatically eat any worker that comes near it. However, riding it makes you vulnerable to attack.

By riding the Snail to a flag post at your team’s end of the map, you gain the victory for the round. Simple enough, but it may be the most difficult path to victory. Yet Snail victories are the best for dunking on your opponent.

Practical Dynamism

With 3 paths to victory, it may seem like focusing on a single path would clinch a victory. In theory that isn’t a bad idea. However, that thinking in practice is folly. Killer Queen Black is a dynamic game that changes from match to match. The only constant in the game is how you can win.

The biggest downfall of competitive multiplayer games is a) lack of competition and b) a standard way to win. Killer Queen Black doesn’t suffer from either issue. Even in casual matches the game is heated and intense. Thanks to the multiple paths to victory ensure no game is the exact same.

Sure there are teams who are going to prefer specific victory paths. Some may find Military victory the easiest defaulting to an aggressive queen and focusing on soldiers, or always go for the Snail. However, these patterns become obvious after the first round.

The game has a deceptive balance opening for a lot of turnarounds. If a team is angling for a military victory alone then focus on evasive and defensive maneuvers. As your queen eludes attacks, you can use the misdirection to angle for an Economic or Snail victory.

Killer Queen Black Review
The beauty of Killer Queen Black’s gameplay is it allows for such much dynamic and adaptive play.

Snail victories are tricky and not easy to pull off, but teams that fall into this path can easily be taken out by focusing on taking out workers. Whether you use soldiers or your queen to dispatch workers riding the Snail or using your own workers as snail fodder to slow them down. You can use that focus to angle for an Economic or Military victory.

Economic victories are labor intensive and require more teamwork, so often they can fly under the radar. What makes a match dynamic as quick as they may be is how simply you can guard against potential loss. If you notice the other team is closing in on an economic victory, switch gears and start wiping out workers preventing them from getting back to the hive. Use the annoyance with your queen or worker to scramble for your own victory path.

The swings and dynamics of a match in Killer Queen Black move quickly. In a match that went to a 5 round decision, my team worked all 3 victory paths. One worker tried for a Snail victory as my queen aimed for Military, and the two other workers diligently brought berries back to the hive. 

The Snail victory kept being interrupted by a persistent queen opening opportunities for me to wipe her out. As our queens traded deaths, the Snail inched closer to victory. The opposing team converted workers to warriors giving up on their Economic path, in an attempt to destroy the Snail rider.

Killer Queen Black Review
The variety of maps in Killer Queen Black means you get plenty of opportunities to switch up your strategies to suit the map.

When our Queen was down to her last life, I noticed we only needed to hold out for a few more seconds to clinch the Economic victory. I played the defensive evading fervent attacks by the opposing team. They focused on pushing back the Snail, as we only needed a berry or two left to win.

When the other queen noticed our impending victory, it was too late. We dropped the last berry in our hive and ensured our victory. Being too myopic in Killer Queen Black is costly. Team able to capitalize on the swing and switch gears can turn around the losing side of a match.

This isn’t the exception, that dynamic gameplay is the rule for Killer Queen Black. While skill plays an important part of wins and losses, staying aware of your surroundings and what’s happening between the two teams plays a huge part. Strategies will serve you more long term than simply trying to hammer a single victory path.

In terms of online play, it is easy to start up a game with low wait times the majority of the day. Since its launch on October 11, there hasn’t been an issue to get into a match with a group of 8 and play a competitive game. 

When there is a lighter queue of people playing, the servers will smartly place bots into open slots if too much time has passed. While it may seem like bots give an unfair advantage or are ineffective, that isn’t the case. Bots replicate an average Killer Queen player. They don’t hinder a match by any means. It is a clever way to ensure you can get into casual matches quickly without losing the spirit of the gameplay. 


Killer Queen Black still has the chaotic energy that made the original Killer Queen such a delight in arcades. Bringing the dynamic gameplay to the home has allowed for fun innovations like the Black Team being for top dogs in ranked play and the ability to watch matches in real time. 

If you haven’t played Killer Queen in an arcade, Killer Queen Black gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the dynamic and heated gameplay.

Killer Queen Black was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the developer.

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Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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Gaming Illustrated RATING



What makes Killer Queen Black such an addictive experience is how dynamic the gameplay is.


Killer Queen Black looks like the best game never made for the SNES. The animations are smooth and fluid with a vibrant color palette.


Killer Queen Black's sound track rocks with fantastic stings and sound effects.


Killer Queen Black has an endless amount of replayability, whether mixing it up in a casual match or getting serious in ranked play.

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