First MoreGames Entertainment proved that the flick mechanic could make for a fun and hectic castle defense game (it was the first game in that genre that I ever really got into). Then they teased us by taking one of the beleaguered knights from the castle defense game and thrusting him in a fun side scrolling romp. Now we get a full taste for the quest in Knight’s Rush, and it’s tasting pretty good. Sure it might seem like mindless bashing and trashing, but there’s actually a lot more to it than that. Besides, it looks good, it sounds good, and I quite enjoy it.
While the mechanics are the same, you get to choose between three different game play modes. Campaign mode lets you tour 8 different worlds in an attempt to recover parts of the “ultimate artifact” and I suppose defeat some evil boss. In Endless mode you can pick any of the worlds that you’ve beaten in Campaign mode and explore them, well, endlessly until you die. Super Endless mode is a random mish-mash, picking backgrounds and characters from every level and combining them into a mode. In general I’m not a fan of endless modes anyway, but the only redeeming factor to this one in my opinion is you get a sneak peak of creatures you might not have run across yet in Campaign mode.
In reality you get your choice of playing the knight, a barbarian or an archer (though I must say I don’t ever recall an archer wielding dual sickles before). Unless you’re playing Super Endless mode you choose your “hero”, and then choose which world you’d like to play – any of the 8 when playing Campaign mode or any unlocked one in Endless mode. Every world is comprised of several areas where you’ll fight off hordes of monsters, collecting experience, health potions, spells and coins. Spells are “use ‘em or lose ‘em”, as you only have one spell slot and if you run over another spell your current one automatically gets replaced. Don’t waste them, but don’t hoard them either. Health obviously keeps you alive, and I’m not sure what the coins do yet.
When you earn enough experience you’ll go up a level, at which point you’ll get to give your character skills and perks. Skills are things like additional strength and special moves. Interestingly enough, Perks can also be special abilities, and also enhancements to your other abilities. I’m not really sure what the true difference is between skills and perks, but I do know that while a good number of them stay the same between characters, there are some in each category that are different for each character type. Also, each skill and perk has 5 levels, so there are plenty of different customization combinations to ensure that every game you play feels different.
Speaking of different, I’m amazed at all the different creatures that populate the land. Unlike so many games where a different world means different colored versions of the same creatures, each world in Knight’s Rush has a lot of newness to offer. That doesn’t mean things won’t overlap, but you never feel like you’re getting gypped in the bestiary department. Sure you have your stock knights (both foot soldiers and the kind that ride horses), and your standard mages that cast spells. But then you start getting more exotic things like walking plants that suck you towards them or vicious killer sand crabs. Also, unless you’re playing Super Endless mode, the creatures fit quite well with the world themes they populate.
Graphically, this might be the best installment of the Knights series yet. In some cases there are multiple scrolling background levels, but even if there’s just one background everything is finely detailed. When you travel between different locales like a forest or desert you really feel like you’re in different places. The character designs are quite well done and incredibly diverse, especially when it comes to non-humanoid type creatures. As for the animation, it can tend to get a bit over the top at times. I pretty sure when I’m done pounding a crate more wood has been thrown around than was originally used to build the crate! I wouldn’t want it any other way, though, as it just adds to the charm of the visuals.
The audio is as diverse as the visuals. Wooden equipment creaks as it rolls by. Different projectiles make different noises as they wiz through the air. In fact, pretty much everything makes a unique noise in this game. It’s such a refreshing change of pace from the usual “one noise fits all” mentality for sound effects. The music is quite epic when you sit and listen to it apart from the game, and makes for a nice backdrop while you’re playing. The tune actually changes as you travel to different parts of the same world, though I’m not sure if there is separate music for each world or not. Whatever the case, the audio and visuals does an incredible job of making the Knights world come to life.
Don’t let the hack ‘n slash exterior fool you. There’s quite a game to be had here. In depth character customization, a vibrant world and frantic game play all make for a compelling reason to play. In the end, though, it’s all the little details that will suck you in and keep you coming back. And, once you’ve completed the story mode Knights’ Rush can become your very own “endless running” game with Super Endless mode. The game has plenty to offer, and is really quite a bargain for the price.
Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]