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The DrunkPunk Reviews: Knight & Damsel
Knight & Damsel
"Knight & Damsel is a two-player "uncooperative" multiplayer game set on a papercraft stage that subverts the age-old tale of knights saving damsels, with the knight and damsel competing to rescue the other!In Knight & Damsel, players attempt to delay their opponent so their chosen hero can recieve the most glory by getting the furthest through the stage."
This multiplayer (yes, you will need a real person, friend or not, present to play the game with as there is no AI) game pits you against one friend in a race to see who can rescue whom first by completing segments towards the other while dodging, and sending, punishment. A different direction from the normal 'boy saves girl' trope where the girl can save the boy, in a sense.
Knight goes right.
The game loads up to a puppet theater styled loading screen where you can select Campaign, Arcade or Options. There's also access to a Help page that is actually helpful! It reads like a game manual, very nice. So, Campaign will take you and a friend/enemy on a tour of the four different levels/worlds/stages which are a Dungeon, a Mountain, a Forest and some Plains. Pretty standard fare. The art style is nice and though the character animations seem a bit stodgy at first, you will soon find that it fits in well. The SFX and the music are fitting to the game with a "courtly" sounding bit for the menus and a faster paced piece for the actual race to the middle; which is the point after all. You need to clear more screens that your opponent to win while they try and send you back with blocks of various diabolical design. Every stage has it's own pitfalls in the form of blocks that either hinder forward progress or outright kill you. Well, not really "kill" you but send you back a screen. One button smashes & sends blocks (U or A) and one button pushes the blocks that you are able to move (O or Y), and you use the joystick or D-Pad to move. Easy peasy.
Damsel goes left.
Arcade mode is where it starts to get really painful. Here you pick from the four different levels and pick your own three, out of twelve, Blocks Of Power (they needed a fun name) and get to it! I am happy to report that the game works with other controllers and I tested it with an OG OUYA controller, a PS3 controller, a knock-off USB controller and all worked fine. So now you can grab whatever controller you like and then fight over what Blocks Of Power to use to bludgeon your opponent into submission. There is a chance to tie and meet in the middle though, and when this happens it's time for a sudden death showdown. For this you just have to touch the other person first to win...remember Tag as a kid? Yeah, that's the ticket here.
So what's bad?
Sadly, a lot. This game very glitch ridden, lacking a couple of common sense features and needs much polish. I'll start with the things that are a result of not being properly play tested and feel like "glitches":
Many of the blocks don't work as intended.
- There is a cannon that you can send over to shoot at your opponent but if you push at the right time you can just push right through the cannon ball.
- There is a ice water bucket that when hit under certain circumstances can trap you permanently, not letting you move even after the effect has worn off. This is the worst one as it will completely ruin a run in one blow.
- There is a bear trap that can just be climbed right over if you time it right.
- There is another block that starts a fire and can also be pushed through not causing any damage.
Some of the other blocks are just there to help slow down your opponent but don't really do very much and should be reworked to be of any use. For example, two of them do the exact same thing and are easy to get around by either climbing over or hitting them once. Not a big road block.
In the polish department I'll throw a few things into the stew:
- There is no "pause" button or anyway to return to the main menu. Not a big deal but it would be nice to just be able to jump back and change something.
- The controls are a wee bit sloppy. Sometimes when you mean to push or just turn around to hit/push a block you will end up climbing onto the block instead. Just needs a fine tuning.
- The Tag mini-game is just too shallow, even for it's intended purpose. It's basically just run at the other person and whoever is pushing the fastest wins. Even if you try to dodge the other person can simply just keep running and win (thanks to the 5 y/o for schooling me on that). Maybe an added rock to throw to stun the other person for a split second when they get close, just something to make it less...mindless. Maybe a jump? So many options!
Knight & Damsel is a good looking game with so much wasted potential. Everything is there to have an awesome multiplayer experience and I really want to enjoy myself when I play it but the glaring mistakes are the controller throwing variety of infuriating! With some tweaking, actual playtesting and some improvements I would gladly throw 3.5 stars at this and recommend it because there is (potentially) much fun to be had, but with all these issues I can't do it.