App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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I enjoy a good runner, and I like reaction-based combat games (not fighters). I can’t say I’ve ever given much thought as to what it would be like to combine the two but someone over at Mojaro has, because that’s exactly what they’ve done. KnightScape combines two genres that couldn’t be more different into one game fairly well, although neither of the two halves quite can measure up to their peers on their own.
While out for a stroll with a peasant boy - and while texting and walking at the same time - a princess is snatched up by a mischievous Dark Knight. Of course she probably doesn’t even realize she’s been captured since she never seems to take her eyes off her phone. But no matter, a princess needs saving and who better to do it than an unlikely (and likely unwashed) hero? KnightScape is a runner, first and foremost, with players guiding the hero along a path made up for three lanes. Swiping to either side will move one lane in that direction while tapping either of the two outermost lanes will have the peasant leap to them, which can be handy for those tricky layouts. Along with lane-changes, players also have to swipe up or down to make it through a series of obstacles (spike pits, narrow gaps, ledges, etc) as quickly as possible. A miss doesn’t end in failure but rather reduces the would-be knight’s health bar a bit, which doesn’t sound like much but can make a world of difference in a duel. And yes, there are duels with rivals (or rather arival) that pop-up amidst all the running.
KnightScape’s combination of genres works to a surprising degree. The running portions are completely skill-based and can net savvy players extra coins to purchase better gear. The duels are typically dependant on gear over reaction time, however, so upgrading is a constant necessity. Both systems to a good job of balancing each other, and while a bit simple in comparison to other more focused titles they’re still quite satisfying and fun.
And yet, these elements are simpler and more forgiving than many other comparable games. In tandem I think they strike a good balance, but players looking for a more refined experience might be disappointed. I’d also like to mention that, while I appreciate being able to queue up actions (swipe up to jump over a pit, etc) early, the system almost feels a little too forgiving.
KnightScape might not win over fans of truly “hardcore” runners and fighters, but anyone looking for a less intense good time should enjoy themselves. Especially if they love both those things. I know I do.