Knightin’+, plus loot? – First Sip Review
Knightin’+ is an action-adventure game heavily inspired by the classic Zelda games. The game is both developed and published by Muzt Die Studios.
Knightin’+ is also an upgraded version of Knightin’ by the same developer Muzt Die, which is also a one-man team.
The story in Knightin’+ is a little hit and miss. The game introduces the hero Sir Lootsalot and then basically tells you to forget about the story. It’s both a way to avoid having a drawn-out story and a comment on what a lot of modern gamers are like. They begin by starting a generic story that a lot of people will skip and then the game breaks the fourth wall by skipping it for you. The rest of the game sort of keeps the same tone but at times it seems to just give you the generic story. It’s an odd balance but the story is so brief that it never sticks around along to feel out of place.
Overall your sense of humor will be the biggest factor in how you feel about the story. But at the same time, it’s so sparse that even if it’s not your humor it shouldn’t ruin your experience.
As might be expected by the classic Zelda influence, the game uses pixel-art. Unlike some newer throw-back titles that use super detailed art (Sparklite, Ghosts’N DJ’s, or the upcoming Ancient Abyss), Knightin’+ looks like it could have come straight out of the original NES or early SNES titles. This isn’t to say it looks bad, in fact, it looks quite nice. And if it were to be released back in the NES or SNES heyday it would have been up there with some of the best of the time.
Character designs are quite fun. The hero Sir Lootsalot wears blue armor and looks a bit like Shovel Knight who was one of my pics for the Indie Gaming scenes Mascot. Enemies are also varied which is helpful because they have different movement/attack patterns to learn. Bosses are also well designed and sometimes quite silly like the first one Qaug the “almost a dragon”. Which is in fact actually a large frog.
A shocking reveal for absolutely no one. The music in Knightin’+ is retro NES styled chiptune. Naturally, this fits in well with the graphics and gameplay and sounds quite good. The only problem really was a lack of variety, some rooms (shop and boss) have different themes. And the different dungeons do but each floor of a dungeon will have the same theme. So you’ll need to run through three floors of a single mostly uninterrupted theme. The game is somewhat designed for speedruns (I’ll get to this later). So it’s not too big a problem but when you’re grinding for money to buy the last item the repetition starts to set in.
One thing I really loved about it though is when you pause the game the music gets muffled. It doesn’t seem that interesting written down but it’s a nice touch and I really enjoyed it.
Sound effects are the typical 8-bit NES sounds and they fit in as well as everything else.
The gameplay is pretty simple, explore dungeons, collect money, collect loot, solve puzzles, kill everything. You start the game with nothing and then pick up a sword. As you progress through the game you will find and buy more items to allow for more skills. Items include a shield to block projectiles, an amulet that allows for a quick dash attack and a bracelet to move heavy blocks. While a lot of the items are geared toward making you a better fighter, some of them like the bracelet are for puzzle solving.
Dungeons are set up very much like in the original Zelda game. You have a map that starts off empty and you’ll start in a room. As you explore the rooms the map fills out and eventually, you’ll find a staircase up or down. From what I experienced you’ll be able to complete the entirety of the map, so even if you can’t get into a room from where you are there should be a staircase from another floor to get you there. Most rooms will have locked doors until you defeat the enemies.
Enemies can be anything from a mushroom to a slime to a pink diglet looking thing. And each enemy has a set movement and attack pattern. For instance, the skull bats move diagonally until they bounce off something and they move in a new diagonal direction. While the diglet naked mole-rat guys will burrow into the ground and pop-up underneath you. Bosses are similar in that you need to work out their patterns to effectively avoid and defeat them. However, they take a lot more hits so brute-forcing them is not really an option.
Knightin’+ doesn’t really add anything new to the genre, in fact, it actually strips elements away. There is no overworld, no real story or lore, just dungeons. And that’s one of the main reasons it works so well. The core gameplay is solid and that’s basically all you have and all you need. The game isn’t particularly long, there is an achievement for beating the game in under 90 minutes. But completionists will most likely spend a bit longer grinding for money to buy all the items. And some puzzles do get pretty tricky to solve.
Knightin’+ isn’t particularly expensive so it’s pretty good value for money all things considered. Much like Shovel Knight and some other recent hits, Knightin’+ is a game that not only looks influenced by 90’s classics but feels like it could be a lost gem. In a world where gamers are always expecting bigger, newer and more, it’s nice to have a simple game that doesn’t resort to covering the screen in seemingly unavoidable attacks just because they can.
In Coffee Terms
Knightin’+ in coffee terms is a classic straight black. The kind you would have ordered back when most people didn’t know the term barista. Back when you could walk up and say two coffees and not even have to specify a blend. Coffee was a plain black coffee, if you wanted milk you’d need to ask, same for sugar and that was the end of your choices. If you think back fondly on how coffee used to be then this is the one for you.
One half of the YouTube brother duo, The Game Bros with Sirhc and Ar0n, Chris is a lover of games, movies and other great things you can do from home.
Coffee of choice: I like the sweeter kinds, mixed with chocolate, coconut, caramel etc. but I won’t turn down a flat white or a straight black either.