Rooks Keep is an arena-based, melee combat game. A variety of game-modes, characters, maps and mutators are available. It also has Chess modes, mod support and decapitation!
User reviews: Positive (13 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 15, 2014
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Early Access Game

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Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“We are using Early Access to see how the Steam audience responds to Rooks Keep and to beta-test the Steam build of the game.
One of the the primary goals is to test multiplayer functionality, and fix or improve network systems. Along with this, we would like to gather feedback regarding game balance. During this period, we also aim to implement Steam Workshop support and get the game running on Mac systems.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“Depending on feedback and the nature of any changes that need to be made, we estimate Rooks Keep will take around one to two months in Early Access.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The full version will only really differ in what we change based on what we learn from Early Access.
The current build of the game is essentially the full version of the game. It includes all content and features, and is the same game that has been available since mid 2013. We do not intent making large sweeping changes to gameplay and content. Any needed changes regarding game balance and network systems will be made to the game as necessary during Early Access.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“The game is feature and content complete, and for all intents and purposes, is a finished game.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“No, the price will remain the same for both Early Access and full release.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We're hoping the community will be able to help us beta-test the Steam build, and give us the feedback needed to make changes to network systems, game balance and any other priority issues.”
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Recent updates View all (3)

October 25

Rooks Keep Status Report #2

Well, it's been a while once again.

At any rate, we're closing in on a proper Rooks Keep update.

We've got achievements in and are currently working on workshop support.

We hope to have that done soon, VCD is keeping us a little occupied at the moment, so we'll dedicate time to finishing Rooks Keep as best we can.

Until then, which will hopefully be soon, keep those shields up!

1 comments Read more

September 22

Rooks Keep Status Report

Hi everyone!

First up, we apologize for the lack of updates, and general announcements about progress made on Rooks Keep.

Recently we've been pretty heavily tied up with other things, such as Admin work, Viscera Cleanup Detail updates, very unforgiving Mac support challenges, Rooks Keep dedicated server issues, etc.

As it stands, our small team of 3 has been reduced to 2, as the third has been heavily inundated with admin work for a while.

Nonetheless, we've made some progress.

The latest version of Rooks Keep (v1.07) fixes a stubborn problem with the server browser that's been causing crap.

We also have a Dedicated Server setup now, so anyone can join at any time.
It still has some issues, but we're looking into those.

Going forward we'll be adding achievements to Rooks Keep, releasing it from the clutches of Early Access, and hopefully getting some more players in-game.
We'd like to get Rooks Keep to support Mac as well, but realistically it's a gamble at this point, so time will tell.

Thank you, and keep slaying those pawns!

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About This Game


This Early Access release of Rooks Keep is essentially a beta-test for the Steam build. It is the full game, but we want to fine-tune the balance, and, most importantly, test the multiplayer functionality of the new MP system. This also means, that there are currently NO official dedicated servers. Depending and feedback and demand, we will go further on that front!

Deathmatch. AI & Multiplayer. Chess. Decapitation.

Descend into a brutal tournament where factions of sinister knights and grotesque beasts battle for domination in bloody arena matches and furious melee brawls. Crush opponents with hammers and shields, rend flesh with razor sharp claws and slice off heads with swords and axes.
In Rooks Keep, players will maim their competitors in both a selection of deathmatch-arena game-modes such as 'Deathmatch', 'Team-Deathmatch', 'Conversion', 'Chess', 'Last-Man-Standing' and 'Combat Chess'. Play solo, jump into multiplayer matches, or add AI opponents to squash under-foot in both single and multiplayer. We even support 3rd party Chess engines.
The game is set in a uniquely styled fantasy world, where factions battle ceaselessly for your entertainment.

Key Features

  • Arena gameplay
    Players will enter into a variety of game-modes, such as Deathmatch, Last-Man-Standing and Conversion(kill enemies to convert them to your team), and battle across a variety of maps with many available options and mutators.
  • Melee combat
    The focus of Rooks Keep is on the fantasy melee combat system, featuring quick and heavy attacks, parrying, blocking, dodging and special abilities and skills.
  • Chess
    Players can play in both Classic Chess and the unusual Combat Chess mode, where players have the opportunity to fight to retain their place on the board if attacked.
  • AI/LAN/Online
    Rooks Keep presents players with single-player solely against AI bots, LAN and online. Also supported are 3rd party Chess engines. Even hot-seat Chess is available.
  • Unreal & mod support
    Built on the Unreal® Development Kit™, Rooks Keep offers extensive mod support. Players will be able to use the included UnrealEd tool to build their own maps and mods.

System Requirements

    • OS: Win XP SP3, Win 7
    • Processor: 2.4GHz Dual core CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512MB Shader Model 3.0 Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT or AMD Radeon HD 3870
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Controller supported
    • OS: Win XP SP3, Win 7
    • Processor: 2.6GHz Quad core CPU
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 or AMD Radeon HD 5850
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Controller supported
Helpful customer reviews
14 of 19 people (74%) found this review helpful
7.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 15
Early Access Review
*NOTE: This is an Early Access review meaning it will be a lot shorter than a normal review but will still explain what I thought about it. A full review will be published once Rooks Keep has released.

Welcome to the official blood and gore feast! Rooks Keep is an arena-based, melee combat game. A variety of game-modes, characters, maps and mutators are available. It also has Chess modes, mod support and decapitation! It's available on Steam for and is being published and developed by RuneStorm.

Rooks Keep is a very gory, but very entertaining fighting game. It all starts out with how well done the combat system is. There are three main parts; attacking, defending, and parrying. There are light attacks and heavy attacks, each with their own spot on your mouse. You use your mouse for most of the actions you're going to do, whether it's attacking or parrying (defending is a control on your keyboard, which is still easy to use). The tutorial allows people to learn the controls very quickly, but people will figure out that the controls are hard to master, due to the varying moves that the AI/other players throw at you.

That's another thing. The AI that you face is pretty darn good at the combat system. Although it can be improved for every game mode, it will definitely give you a challenge. You may be able to take on one AI at a time, but when you get bombarded with two or three at a time; you're going to die a headless warrior. There are also multiple different classes to choose from, which gave me a sense of freedom. The skill points, which go into play with what class you can choose, reminded me of Star Wars: Battlefront 2. In Battlefront 2, you had to have enough points to play as a certain class and it is the same here. That being said, the unlockable classes aren't necessarily better because certain classes -with the right enough skill- have the potential to defeat them. That also goes with every class and that sets up a weird "rock-paper-scissors" element to it that I haven't seen in any other arena combat-based game. To add on, you can also use the skill points to add extra, helpful "tiers" to your character that will allow for a stronger fighter.

The last thing that really got my attention was all the game modes given. For an arena combat-based game, you'd expect the typical team deathmatch and deathmatch gamemodes. RuneStorm went the extra distance and introduced a chess game mode and a combat chess game mode. The combat chess is my favorite because you get can go toe-to-toe as a pawn fighting the queen of the other team and you might even win the fight! There are also a few other game modes including Conversion, Last Man Standing, and even Team Last Man Standing. For all these game modes, RuneStorm provided a "Mutators" tab where you can alter game options and change it to how you would like it whether you want powerups, slomo enabled, or even for combatants to run.

The only issues I had were a few texture pop-ins here and there with the ground and the player models. As I stated above, the AI will provide for a challenge, but they can definitely be smarter.

8.5/10 - You can view it here:
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 16
Early Access Review
After a very long wait finally there is something in the place of Rune! The fact that this game is 100% lan-able is great! The one thing chivalry did not do right. Great fun! Easy to get into hard to master. And when you get bored of killing your buddies retire to a good old fassioned game of chess! A rather bloody one that is! If you enjoyed games like The Reconing and Rune and Chivalry this is a must buy!! The price is so good its like if its on sale already!
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 28
Early Access Review
It won’t be for everyone; if you’re not a fan of third person brawlers, or chess, you need not apply. For those that recognise chess as the finest game of all time, though, you will enjoy this thoroughly.

Full Review -
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 1
Early Access Review
not a bad game.
its a fun arena game not to complex.
kills give you points to play as some of the stronger guys but even the 0 point grunt is a good fighter.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 16
Early Access Review
By the name of CHESS! You will enjoy this game, it provides strategy in both the chess section and the actual combat. Oh by the way, this is chess with full interactive combat. If you enjoy strategy and action but really miss the control: Buy this...Right now..

If you aren't a fan of simple strategy games but want the combat: This is for you.

If you like gore in a game but miss the damage aspect to your character: This is for you.

I've played one map, one match, and about fourteen minutes and I love every aspect to this game.

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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 19
Early Access Review
Traditional chess pieces move off the board and into the battle arena. Learn how each piece would fight in the wild, if left to their own devices. You can play normal chess and "combat" chess, as well. Great game!

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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
18.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 16
Early Access Review
Gorgeous game, for starters.

Second, the gameplay is quite good once you can get into it. The chess archetypes make for some interesting playable characters, and the imbalanced nature of the character tiers means battles are extremely dynamic with people running in to beat on pawns and running away again when a rook or a queen shows up.

Graphics are great, there's a huge amount of game and server customization, and lots of game modes to choose from. Speaking of which, the chess gametypes were a really nice addition to the game, and says something about the people who put it together.

I have been waiting eagerly for the Steam version of the game so that we can finally have some proper multiplayer support.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 19
Early Access Review
very good game only thing is
this really needs some dedicated servers
there is no server to play on now
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
30.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 19
Early Access Review
This game is really solid, with extra gamemodes that you can play when not in a deathmatch. Mechanics of this game are really interesting, the skill point system for respawns is a great way to help keep it interesting, all the characters have their interesting points. Really all the game needs is more people playing.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 17
Early Access Review
Fantasy arena combat, with a side of chess; or maybe, you could even look at it as chess, with a side of fantasy arena combat. The way I prefer to look at Rooks Keep is that it is fantasy arena combat and chess, together in a deep, rewarding, and fun package; one that you could say is quite Unreal. Make no mistake though, this game is as simple as it looks: it has chess simulation and it has fantasy arena combat, which both obviously entail what you would expect; virtual chess and hack and slash chilvary-esque combat with a fantasy theme. What you should not come to believe though is that it stops there. Chess has a steep tradition, and I feel that Rooks Keep does a good job of keeping along with those traditions. Likewise, Chivalry has quite a following itself of skilled players within it's community. Then you notice the game has combat chess.

What is this you might ask? Throw together the fantasy based arena combat with traditional chess gameplay and you have one of the most off the wall game modes that the game has. Unfortunately, there is one issue that needs to be addressed: there is no online community. It's dead. I've only ever played on one server, and that was my own, to see if it would show up on the server listings. It did indeed, so it's not that the game has broken online play, it's that it has NO online play. That's a big problem considering that this is a multiplayer game. Yes, the AI for this game is fantastic, but it has it's shortcomings and after a while, gets boring. That's where I hope this game starts to pick up. If it just had an online community with servers and players, I could see this game dethroning Chivalry (which, by the way, is far less fun than this game) if it only did. So here's my call to the gaming public: purchase this game, and start playing online, I reccomend it.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
Early Access Review
Great Game
Was this review helpful? Yes No
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 11
Early Access Review
The game doesn't have a stupid limit activation like in Battle vs. Chess (Check vs. Mate). You can install Rooks Keep on Steam always - many times if you want (Battle vs. Chess has limit activations and you can't).

Game is brutal but you have choice disable blood and gore in Options - that is very good. In Chess you can play with Stockfish 2.3.1 engine and maybe others engines:

Unfortunatly symbols 2d in chess are fliped - from other side (upside down):

In Multiplayer unfortunatlly I don't see any players - maybe I have no luck :(
But I recomend this chess game
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