App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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I'm of the mindset that runners are fun. For the most part. While I understand that some people out there aren't fans of the typically one-button mechanics, it's one that's always struck a chord with me. That being said, Wind-Up Knight might just be the game that impresses the previously unimpressed. And knocks the socks off of genre fans.
The premise is simple and cliche: the princess has been kidnapped and a valiant hero must save her. Sometimes he's a plumber. Other times maybe prince. In the case of Wind-Up Knight, however, he's a knight that runs on the power of a wind-up key. The knight's goal is to successfully navigate each level in order to reach the flag at the end. And eventually reach and free the princess after surviving all of them, naturally. The one catch is that he's a wind-up knight (Ha!), so he'll have to grab the wind-up keys strewn around eash stage before he runs out of juice or it's back to the beginning. It's starts off with simple things like jumping over pits and spikes. Then a roll move which allows him to tumble underneath low-hanging obstacles is introduced. After that it's the sword which he'll need to whack away enemies blocking his path. Finally, he's given a shield in order to deflect falling debris and jets of flame.
All of these elements combined make Wind-Up Knight more than just "another" runner. Each new ability is introduced at a pace that allows players to come to grips with it before getting access to another. Once the levels that incorporate all of these techniques come into play it makes for an incredibly harrowing (and rewarding) experience. Each level has multiple goals to achieve such as finding the hidden note, collecting all the coins and attaining an "S" rank. Coins can be used to purchase new gear with special in-game effects (i.e. survive one blow to the head per run, etc...), notes grant access to even more gear and attaining an "A" or higher in every stage in a book (of which there are four) will unlock that book's Knightmare level. And yes, it deserves that name.
My only complaint is that sometimes the path to a note can be incredibly difficult to find. Many times I'll know where it is, but not how to get to it. It certainly encourages replays, but it can be irritating to see it time and time again but not know how to reach it.
Wind-Up Knight is a game I have no problem referring to as a "Must Play." It's perfect for short bursts or prolonged sessions. There's a surprising amount of customization. It can be accessible and brutally punishing, depending on what the player wants. This, my friends, is a perfect example of mobile gaming at its finest.