Nicalis have been making waves on the Switch already with Cave Story+ and the fantastic Binding of Isaac plus a number of upcoming games announced. This time around they have teamed up with Freakzone Games to bring a side scrolling runner to the console with a spooky twist thats perfect as we approach Halloween.
You play as Knight which appears to be a possessed suit of armour and your mission is to run and kill all manner of evil beasties without dying and crucially without letting any of them get past you.
The theme song matches the spooky feel in the game and reminds me of the 2D scrollers of old like Gradius or R-type.
Chopping down your enemies is satisfying though it would have been nice to mix it up with some variety.
Knight Terrors features retro bit style graphics and the background remains black, this is a good idea as it lets you see the mobs clearly and this helps out as the pace picks up. You will fight with Zombies, creepy bats, ghosts, flying skulls and of course UFO’s! Each looks good and suitably creepy. Your character has a satisfying sword swing motion, cool looking wings and the pickups you get later on give you awesome looking bonuses.
Its a shame that you don’t get to see any different backgrounds, as you progress through the levels it would have been nice to include some variation.
Knight Terrors reminds me a lot of Flappy Bird for its physics and Castlevania for its feel and mob slaying. It’s an endless runner that has been made for the Switch which makes the controls feel better than similar games on mobile phones due to physical buttons. You can Jump by pushing Left on the D-Pad or by tapping L and you can swing your sword at enemies either with Right on the D-Pad or by tapping A. L and A feel the most natural. You can fly by tapping A and the game employs the same style as Flappy Bird and Helicopter here, over tap and you will find yourself without enough time to drop and avoid a spike and don’t press enough and you will stumble into a spike.
Enemies each have their own attack pattern and need to be taken out with a slash of your sword. When you combine jumping and flying in between dangers with killing each mob on the screen you get this frantic mix which is enhanced because you cannot simply let an enemy sneak past you and avoid it – doing so loses you one of your 3 lives and once all of them are gone its game over.
As you progress you get a number of points for avoiding obstacles and killing monsters and the more you get in a row without losing a life the more points you get for each kill. You have a simple progress bar at the top which you need to fill up in order to progress to the next level. Dying takes you back to the beginning of the game.
As you progress you will reach milestones that unlock powerful pick ups that will from that point forward be randomly generated in your runs. These become progressively stronger and include a boomerang, extra heart slots and a crazy all powerful attack that lasts for 10 seconds. The more pickups you unlock the more often they will appear which helps you get further and in turn get more power ups.
The game features some slight variation in modes, Flight Terrors which makes the floor a permanent set of spikes – this makes it extremely tough as you are constantly flapping without respite whilst killing enemies. Endless Mode is up next which is very similar to normal mode but doesn’t have any levels – rather its one continuous long run. Unlocking these Modes requires you to reach a certain score in the previous mode which is a nice touch, combined with the power ups you slowly unlock you do feel like you are making progress. The game is well balanced which is critical in what is effectively a very simple game.
The game is strictly single player with a local leaderboard, I found myself thinking that an Online Leaderboard would really have been a nice feature and some additional mobs either later on or in the other modes would have been welcome, there just is not a lot of variation.
At $2.99 in the US and £2.69 in the UK Knight Terrors is the same price as my morning coffee! Its a simple yet addictive game and the additional modes, unlocks and high score system keep you entertained for that one extra run.