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Video Game / Killer Queen

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Killer Queen, created and designed by Josh DeBonis and Nik Mikros of BumbleBear Games in 2013, bills itself as the world's first ten-player arcade strategy game. It is a single-screennote  Platform Game in which two teams of five, each consisting of four Drones and one Queen, struggle for dominance.

The basic rules were originally worked out as a physical game, played on a field by two teams with props (which is why the arcade version is frequently referred to as Killer Queen Arcade). Gameplay in the arcade version resembles a cross between Joust and the original Mario Bros.; the controls are simple — a joystick and a button to either jump or flap your wings (if you have them). There are three paths to victory:

  • Economic Victory: Scattered throughout the playing field are piles of nectar pellets, often referred to as "berries" for their shape and color. The team must bring home enough pellets to fill twelve empty slots in their base. The nectar pellets can also be used at various stations on the playing field to upgrade a Drone into a Warrior, who cannot carry nectar but who has wings and a weapon that Drones do not.
  • Military Victory: Here's where the Warriors come in handy. Unlike her endlessly-respawning minions/teammates, the Queen has only three lives (which hatch out of eggs in the team's base); a military victory consists of killing all three enemy Queens.
  • Snail Victory: There's a giant snail on the playing field. Drones can ride it toward a team-colored net placed at the end of the snail's platform; getting it all the way into one net or the other ends the game with a win. A Warrior or Queen can kill a Drone mounted on the snail; an enemy Drone can sacrifice himself by running into the snail's mouth, which kills him but immobilizes the snail while it's busy swallowing him.

A sequel developed in conjunction with Liquid Bit and entitled Killer Queen Black was announced at E3 2018. It was released on Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam on October 11th, 2019, with cross-play compatibility between both platforms. The gameplay is adapted into 4v4 battles rather than the original 5v5, however the game does introduce new stages and new station upgrades, a revised control scheme, and a new visual style and soundtrack.

The official website is here.

Tropes present in this work:

  • Air Jousting: A core part of the gameplay, as even portrayed
  • The Artifact: Early concepts of the game had the "slow" victory involve climbing up the sides of the screen — hence the snail. Later on it only required the player to move along the bottom, but the snail remained.
  • Attract Mode: An elaborate one, featuring both sprite animation of the characters and live-action footage of people playing the game.
  • Cast from Money: Nectar is the only thing resembling currency in the game. It is used as payment at the upgrade stations to transform a Drone into a Warrior or a faster Drone, and it does not respawn after being used up — meaning it's entirely possible to have a game where there's not enough nectar left for either side to score an economic victory.
  • Collision Damage: From above or behind.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Blue vs. Gold. See also Palette Swap below.
    • Whichever team are the current online champions of Killer Queen Black get a special black-and-violet color scheme, which they lose when they are defeated by a new team.
  • Darker and Edgier: Black features a dark purple color scheme and heavy metal soundtrack not seen in the original arcade version. While there is still no plot, some of the stage backgrounds allude to a species of hornet-like aliens and a post-apocalyptic Earth.
  • Dash Attack: The Queen can dive to attack, essentially dashing downward. Frequently results in a Goomba Stomp. Black introduces horizontal dashing for Queens and sword-wielding Soldiers.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Queens can dash downward and, in Black, horizontally, but can't dash diagonally. Sword-wielding Soldiers can finagle a diagonal dash, but not a downward one.
  • Death from Above: The Queen can perform a special diving attack that Drones cannot.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In Arcade, a character automatically attacks when striking at that moment would result in a kill (unless it clashes with the opponents attack). In Black, attacking often requires more deliberate action.
  • Decapitated Army: If either team loses all three Queens, they lose the round instantly.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: A dead player will explode instead of simply falling or disappearing. When a Queen explodes, the entire screen shakes.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: The night stage has a platform that can either be walked on or jumped through.
  • Eaten Alive: If you jump into the maw of the Snail God.
  • Emergency Weapon: In a pinch, Scouts can throw the nectar in their hands to force enemy combatants away from them. it won't kill them, but may give them the extra split second to flee.
  • Epic Flail: In Black, an alternative weapon to the Sword for soldiers is a mace. It acts as a large shield spinning around the soldier and killing opponents that come in contact with it, but it comes with a periodic cooldown and lacks a dash like the sword.
  • Escort Mission: Snail Victories will almost always require the team to protect whoever is riding it, because it has to be done by a defenseless Worker.
  • Flawless Victory:
    • Killing the queen three times with the same unit without dying once results in the congratulatory message "HAT TRICK!"
    • If either team wins a Snail Victory with the rider hopping onto it and never jumping off or getting knocked off at any point, it's declared as a "Non-Stop Snail".
  • Floating Platforms: Most of the stage is built out of them.
  • Green Hill Zone: Both day and night stages fit this description; the Sunset stage is a little different from the usual.
  • Instant-Win Condition: As soon as either team meets any of the three victory conditions, that team wins. Even if it's, say, a Snail Victory with the other team's Warriors poised to take your Queen's last life and their Drones about to meet the berry quota.
  • Iris Out: When a victory is achieved, the screen freeze-frames, irises down to the player who scored the winning point, then zooms in to show them either killing the Queen, crawling out from a wall entirely loaded with nectar, or riding the snail.
    • If by some chance all five members of the winning team are positioned in the iris, it gains a golden border and the caption "FAMILY PORTRAIT" appears.
  • Lightning Bruiser: In Black, it is possible for a drone to get the Super-Speed and shield upgrades before upgrading to a Warrior.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Drones can have a one-hit-shield to protect them from the front. They get to retain if if they upgrade to Warriors after.
  • Mascot: The Queens themselves. The Character Title is named for them, and they both appear (in silhouette, swinging their swords at each other) in the game's official logo. The logo of Killer Queen Black is a Queen's head shown in profile.
  • Mercy Invincibility: A player who's just respawned, transformed, or finished delivering a pellet is invincible for three seconds, to prevent enemy players from taking unfair advantage.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Here's your two teams. Here's two bases, a bunch of berries/nectar, and upgrade stations. Here's the three possible win conditions. Now go!
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: All the characters, including the Queens.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Well, blue vs. gold, but the latter has yellow and orange in their palettes.
  • Palette Swap: Teams Gold and Blue are the same sprites recolored.
    • The Drones/Warriors are palette swaps of one another: all identical in shape, but the patterns on their clothes differ. Fans have taken to calling them "Skull", "Checkers", "Stripes" and "Abs" (the last because he goes shirtless).
  • Player Mooks: Arguably all of the characters — Queens included — fall under this.
  • Player Versus Player: The entire premise of the game.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Since the Switch and conventional same-screen same-device multiplayer only support up to four players at a time, Killer Queen Black features 4v4 battles rather than the arcade version's 5v5.
  • Ray Gun: In Black, guns are introduced as an alternative to swords for Soldiers to wield. While they have the obvious advantage of range, they have a lengthy cooldown and can't attack diagonally or vertically.
  • Respawn Point: Dead characters will respawn inside their team's base; new Queens will hatch from an egg.
  • Retraux: Old-school sprite animation and 8-bit sound design.
  • Sliding Scale of Cooperation vs. Competition: Fixed Teams variation.
  • Sprint Shoes: Some transformation stations (marked by stylized lightning bolts) turn Drones not into Warriors, but into faster Drones — who in turn can upgrade into fast Warriors.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: There's a bonus level currently being tested in which there are no slots for nectar, and thus no economic victory is possible; however, there are more upgrade stations, Queens now have six lives instead of three, and there are three snails on platforms in the middle of the stage.
    • Another bonus stage has been added in which both snails and bases are removed and the only victory possible is military.
  • Video Game Flight: Only Queens and Warriors can fly.
  • Video-Game Lives: Drones get infinite. Queens get three.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: The queen is the center of the hive. While they are the most powerful member of the team in most circumstances, the the fact that their repeated death results in a loss encourages judiciousness in its use.
  • Wrap Around: Left-to-right in both of the current stages, but the "night" map also has two gaps on the bottom platform that wrap around to the top of the level.

Trope Victory

Alternative Title(s): Killer Queen Black