You know, not enough games tackle the Tudor period and even less let you experience what it would've been like as a monarch such as Henry VIII. That's why Kitfox Games has taken it upon themselves to create such a game, which they actually market as a Henry VIII simulator. Yet it's not only the setting that makes us look back to the past.
The whole format is like a game from yesteryear, and we're not talking about 16-bit retro platforming. This is a real throwback with chunky characters and a handful of pixels to go around, where you move your character through a blocky top-down world. You use keyboard commands to interact with things, and you can even have rudimentary conversations with word prompts, not dissimilar to something like Zork.
It's a really bizarre fusion, but this old style of gameplay fits really nicely with what Kitfox is trying to do. Essentially, your commands range from reform (assigned to R) to marry (M, as you might have guessed), and everything in between, and experimenting with these leads to some very funny combinations. You can marry anyone you want, for example, and perhaps even bless (B) a ghost to clear a pathway for yourself.
But what happens when you want to marry more than one person? The Church won't allow that after all! (If you don't know what we mean, give Henry VIII a quick Google). Well, all you need to do is go over to the Bible and reform it, and then you can become the head of the Church yourself. In this way, Kitfox mixes real Tudor ideas with absurd gameplay for some really entertaining results, and it's up to you to experiment with those for yourself.
The end goal is to get enough money to host a grand reception for your rival, another King who you can name all sorts of profanities, like the old-school Pokémon games. You also name your wife as well, although as discussed, you might not want to keep her around if you're particularly trigger-happy with the M key.
There are many ways to get money, but unfortunately for you, the treasury is locked. This means taxation (T) of your subjects, while also looking for chests in hidden areas that contain valuable gold as well. This can then be spent on the grandest of festivities, like getting in some badgers for your banquet, or perhaps some delightful food to feast upon. In this way your job is to effectively empty this sandbox of all the wealth, and it's not always straightforward how to do so.
Within the world itself there are plenty of characters for you to interact with. Some of these are helpful and will give you what you need, while others are simply there for a bit of entertainment. Again, how you interact with them is up to you, and you'll need to keep track of what they want at times so that you can come back later and assist them when you have the resources.
It takes a fair while to get used to Fit For a King, wandering around aimlessly for a while, but once you get your bearings it's a really enjoyable experience that's just as fun to mess around in as it is to take seriously and complete. There's a lot to see and do, and despite its simplistic coating there's depth and wit in here aplenty; there really is no limit to what you can do as ruler of this kingdom.
Fit For a King is indeed befitting of the name, as it's a grand old affair with a deceptive outer layer. Fans of retro games will enjoy the challenge it offers, and even history buffs with find moments to point out and smirk at. It's a reasonably good educational tool, but more importantly it's a jolly jaunt through a world where everything's as ridiculous and entertaining as you want it to be, and we rather enjoyed the taste of power that we got on this throne.