Knights in Tight Spaces feels like more Fights in Tight Spaces. The sequel builds on the first game’s formula by adding more to it but it largely plays the same. You’re still drawing cards from your deck each turn, forcing you to think on the fly when it comes to what moves and special abilities you have to strategically take down the numerous enemies all huddled around you in a tight, grid-based arena. But the sequel builds on the rewarding flow of the first game by doubling down on the creative control of your deck, letting you further personalize the strategy you want to bring into combat.

The biggest two adjustments in Knights in Tight Spaces are (as the name implies) shifting from the modern-day super spy visuals to something more fantastically medieval and implementing a party system. So instead of working your way through a mission as a solo spy, you’re now a whole party of knights, archers, spellcasters, and other adventurers. You can play up to three characters at a time, with each having access to different cards and abilities. You’re still only using one deck but now you have to build it from a pool of multiple characters, creating new opportunities to take down tough foes with combos.

For example, you could maneuver your tankiest character to shield your spellcaster from harm while they toss a fireball at the group of enemies in the corner, and while your last character switches places with one of the brutes trying to corner them so that an enemy archer accidentally shoots said brute instead. Each turn of combat is a series of considerations as you try to cause and effect your way to the best turn possible while also attempting to worsen the enemies’ turns based on what you can see they’re about to do.

There’s a loose story to Knights in Tight Spaces, following the misadventures of your starting character and the allies they happen to meet and recruit along the way. I started off playing as a tough-as-nails fist fighter who’s skilled in moving around the battlefield, tripping and stunning enemies, countering enemy attacks, and beating people silly with her fists. She reminded me of playing as a Monk in Dungeons & Dragons. Continuing that comparison, I quickly ran into a bow-wielding Ranger and invited her to join my party. We traveled for a while until the Ranger met her untimely demise, meaning I lost her forever. However, a few missions later, a shadowy organization offered to work with me and, after I agreed, they lent me one of their armored, sword and shield-wielding Fighters. We stopped at a tavern and paid to recruit a Cleric-like spellcaster who came in clutch for the rest of the demo, as their ability to cast a healing spell saved me on numerous occasions. I played that Heal All card literally every time I happened to draw it.

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The demo was not easy and it certainly feels like Knights in Tight Spaces is willing to push you a little harder than its predecessor did, heightening the value of individual characters and their respective decks so you’re more adamant about keeping everyone safe. Replacing lost characters seems easy enough–after losing my Ranger, I was told I’d have opportunities to recruit another one eventually–but losing any character in the midst of an encounter can still be vicious. The demo ended with a multiple-stage fight in which I had to go through a tough gauntlet without any way to heal my characters or switch things up between encounters. It was brutal, all the more so when the shield-wielding Fighter went down halfway through and I had to solely rely on my Monk and Cleric for the rest of the mission.

I loved every second of it though, and ended up playing much more than I’d originally planned. And if that’s not a strong enough indication of how much fun I had with the game, I’m not sure what is.

Knights in Tight Spaces is scheduled to launch for PC in 2024.

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