Sometimes there isn’t anything deeper than what you see on the surface. We all like to believe in the psychology that there’s more than meets the eye, but maybe a glass of water is just water in a glass. It’s hard to believe, but that’s it. You don’t have to drive yourself crazy to understand layers or subtext. So when I say Knight Terrors is totally revealed in the tutorial, I’m serious: that’s all.
Knight Terrors is about a Knight who’s running. Endlessly. As he runs, he can jump over spikes and traps, and he can hit enemies who happen across his path with his sword. They take one hit to fall, and things get easier as the knight runs longer, because you can unlock extra weapons and life from scoring better and better run times. There’s no other plot than that. Don’t expect a final boss. This is an endless, procedurally generated runner.
Once you can master running and jumping, and occasionally swinging your sword, that’s all there is to it, so you gotta look at the rest of the game. Knight Terrors is going with a slightly elevated 8bit look, with enemies and our hero coming straight out of a Ghosts ‘n Goblins inspired template. But what’s weird is that you have appropriate creatures like flaming skulls (oooo) and zombies (ahhhh) and little green men in UFOs (…what?). Like, don’t get me wrong, the UFOs are a decent monster in terms of mechanics, but they just feel out of place and weird, like they crash landed into the game from some other title.
Music is decent enough; if you like chiptune, you’re set here. There’s no huge variety, and the score is original and not chipped versions of anything you might recognize. It’s…ok, it’s just simple background music. That’s it, more or less.
The different modes of Knight Terrors that can be unlocked add some variety to the game, which is nice enough, but they do require some decent high scores in order to unlock. The first mode only asks you to get to level six, which can be obtained with a little trial and error. However, beyond that it’s a different ballgame. 50,000 points in a mode where you can’t touch the ground feels a little silly, because you clearly need to keep flapping your demon wings endlessly while also swatting enemies out of the sky. There’s only two buttons for controls, so pick a controller with your most comfort (I recommend the Gamecube controller). If you can keep comboing the enemies and not miss, the points rack up fast, but the problem with procedural generation is you’re bound to hit a patch of “no win,” which never feels great, and going back to 100 points a fiend kind of sucks.
Unlocking the different weapons and such is also cool, because Knight Terrors is overly generous when it comes to items spawning. I know “procedurally generated” often means that the game tries to screw you, but I felt that things like hearts and secondary weapons (throwing axes, boomerangs, etc.) appeared both when I needed them and also incredibly often. It felt like the game wanted to apologize for there not being more than what you saw, so they wanted to make the experience as good as possible.
That’s kind of the main crux of Knight Terrors: it’s as honest as it is simple. If you saw the words “endless runner” and got a bit turned off, I would totally understand. I get the running genre: I think Tower of Babel on the Switch is a pretty excellent entry and compelling to boot. But Knight Terrors acknowledges that you just keep going, and more stuff gets added, knowing there’s no end to speak of. At some point it just becomes a score attack, and it’s up to the player to continue down that road or not. If you’re into simple, unlimited gameplay and want a little spooky element for this season, then you might feel right at home with Knight Terrors. If you’re looking for a light at the end of the tunnel, however, you may need to journey elsewhere.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
Sound - /10
Replay Value - /10
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