Vivid Knight review
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Vivid Knight review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on March 9th, 2022
Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: CHIBI CRAWLER
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This roguelite borrows ideas from auto-chess to create an experience with the combat depth of a full role playing game condensed into a tiny but mighty package.

Developer: Asobism.Co.,Ltd

Price: $9.99
Version: 1.3.2
App Reviewed on: iPad Pro

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

What if you took the party-building mechanics of auto-chess and put them in a roguelite dungeon-crawler? Vivid Knight answers this exact question, and--as it turns out--it's a pretty great combination. In addition to stealing some pretty great ideas, Vivid Knight has a bunch of tricks up its own sleeve to deliver some fast and challenging action that ends up packing what feels like the entirety of a traditional role-playing game's worth of combat depth into an experience into runs that last no longer than an hour or two.

Efficient expedition

Vivid Knight has a story setup, but after playing as much as I have I couldn't begin to remember what it is. The core of the game is simply diving into a dungeon and seeing if you can make it all the way to the end. At the game's start, you have a lead hero character and one fighter, though your task as you progress is to amass a party of up to six fighters in hopes of defeating the increasingly dangerous monsters you must defeat to advance through the dungeon.

Each dungeon is divided into individual rooms that you simply tap on arrows to move between. Locations can contain anything from free new heroes, enemies, traps, random events, merchants, or sometimes nothing at all. To move down further into the dungeon, you have to defeat an enemy mob that is holding the key without having all of your heroes defeated. The complicating factor of all of this is that your hero has to expend mana to move, and if you run out of mana, your heroes continuously take damage when you move. This makes Vivid Knight all about balancing the risks of exploration against the potential rewards you might find.

Anime adventuring

The depth of Vivid Knight really comes from its combat, though moreso in preparing for battle than the fights themselves. Just like auto-chess, Vivid Knight has systems where matching sets of characteristics between party members grant special bonuses and buffs to your team. Capitalizing on every opportunity to unlock more abilities--particularly those that compliment each other--help ensure survivability in the depths of Vivid Knight's hardest challenges.

As implied by the title and shown in screenshots, Vivid Knight has a very bright and cutesy anime style. Regardless of whether this look appeals to you or not, it ends up making the game's various abilities, synergies, and effects way more intuitive and readable than they might otherwise be, which in turn makes the game very approachable even when attempting to juggle the dizzying amount of stats, status effects, enemy resistances, etc. contained within it.

Go, knights, go

For all this talk of team-building, I'm sure you're wondering how Vivid Knight's combat actually plays out. It haven't touched on it until now because there isn't really much to it. You units fight all on their own, though you can cast special runes you collect at the start of a turn to help deal damage, heal your party, apply status effects, and more. Otherwise, everything moves along on its own and victory truly is determined by your ability to put together a strong and flexible team ahead of actually entering combat.

The beginning dungeons in Vivid Knight are very short and almost laughably easy, but they serve as the good places to experiment and learn how best to move through dungeons, use the unit store to your advantage, and make mistakes you'll learn to avoid in the game's truly challenging stage: The Witch's Maze. It's at this point that Vivid Knight ends up feeling very much like a roguelite, where bad rolls or small mistakes can completely ruin your run. Thankfully, at the end of every session with the game you earn gems you can use to unlock new units, gear, and runes that can appear in future playthroughs, which adds to the game's depth, variety, and challenge.

The bottom line

Vivid Knight successfully takes the alluring aspects of auto-chess games and transplants them to an enjoyable single-player context. The result is a game that feels incredibly deep and replayable while at the same time being extremely easy to pick up and play. It may have an uneven difficulty spike here and there, but otherwise it's a game that is pretty easy to recommend.

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