Game: Fallen Knight
Genre: Action, Platformer
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows) Xbox, PS4 and Apple Arcade)
Developer|Publisher: Fairplay Studios | DigiPen Game Studios, PQube Games
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: US $14.99 | UK £14.99 | EU € 14,99
Release Date: October 13th, 2022
Review code provided with many thanks to DigiPen Game Studios.
Apple Arcade Gem
Fallen Knight is a 2D action game set in the distant future where the Knights of the round table have had quite the cybernetic upgrade. Originally released to Apple Arcade, which is a service that is starting to give hope to the mobile market.
Several quality games with zero microtransactions have made the leap from the service to Nintendo Switch and today is no different. Fallen Knight is a challenging but entertaining action title that will suit retro fans and anyone that thinks modern gaming is too easy.
50th Descendants of the Roundtable
The holy grail has been found and the world of the future is a peaceful place. But, peace only lasts so long and before you know it, some rogue Knights have come to interrupt the peace and it’s up to Sir Lancelot and Sir Galahad to save the day. As someone that is quite fond of old-school King Arthur and the Knights of the round table I really liked this futuristic continuation of the lore.
The game’s story is presented in short but brief cutscenes with text boxes, usually before a boss encounter. There is a plethora of lore to read up on in the games world and each character, in the options menu showcases impressive attention to detail from the developers. The game is presented with a detailed 3D graphical art style with many varied-level designs that feel unique. In one level you’re navigating through a training facility, with four segments to master before the boss fight.
The most memorable was a level where you’re being stalked by a sniper whose reticle is constantly hovering over you, meaning you need to deal with the stress of the enemies as well as the sniper’s shots. But don’t you worry, eventually you will find that sneaky boss. The performance is excellent in TV and handheld modes. The soundtrack also has that high-octane feel that suits the action.
Hack, Slash and Parry
The formula feels very similar to old-school 2D action platformers particularly games like Mega Man X. Make your way through a level taking down an assortment of robotic baddies with your plasma sword and indulging in some light platforming, before taking on a big bad Knight at the end. A short tutorial at the beginning quickly accustoms you to the basic movement and controls like jumping, slashing your awesome plasma sword and wall running. The game does a good job of making you feel like an awesome cyber Knight.
You’re given the opportunity to try the moves out before moving on from the tutorial before taking on the levels. If you take a few hits you can heal, provided you have some charge, but you do need to find a quiet spot to do this which is often rare in this game, especially in boss fights.
After completing the first level you can pick whatever level order you fancy tackling next, except the last which is only unlocked on completing all the levels. After you complete a level you unlock a new move which can also be tried out at your leisure. You’re also given the chance to unlock additional moves and abilities to mould your Knight to your liking.
Demands Precision and Finesse
Fallen Knight is no simple hack-and-slash your way to victory. As fun as it is to swing your sword like a loon, this is a game that demands precision and finesse. Your end-of-level performance will determine how much currency you earn in order to unlock more abilities. The better you perform, the better the rewards. To get even more points you’re going to want to get good at the game’s parry system. Before an enemy attacks you, it will flash a red glow and make a noise indicating the point to attack. If you are successful you then follow up with a devastating blow. This move is also essential to have an easier time with the boss fights.
This mechanic and the game’s high entry difficulty is what will probably make or break the experience for some gamers. If you’re the casual type looking for a nice chilled-out experience this really won’t be for you. The game is incredibly punishing, giving little room for fault but plenty of room to learn. Like the old retro game, Fallen Knight is one where you get better little by little through repetitive trial and error.
I was on board with the difficulty but I did have niggles with the boss battles. These are unique and different just like with each level design but all have enormous health bars. My poor thumbs had a hard time aggressively mashing the buttons to try to whittle down the health as much as possible. It’s probably an indication that I’m just not as young as I used to be.
Back For More
Fallen Knight in theory is not a long game but it will probably take you a lot of repetition to finally conquer it. You may be pleased to know checkpoints are frequent and even if you need to quit out to do something else, you can pick up from the last checkpoint by rebooting the game. This was very handy for boss fights which sometimes I just needed to walk away from.
Once you’ve made your way through Lancelot’s campaign you can play Galahad’s path which, would you believe, is even harder. Galahad has his own move set and gameplay style and is best recommended after you master the main campaign. Should the difficulty put you off but the game’s style still appeals, it does offer an easier option. This basically unlocks a few extra moves and auto-heals you from the get-go. It does make the game initially more manageable. But the side effect of this is you can’t equip any additional abilities. I totally used this to start with, to ease me into the standard difficulty. If you’re still hungry for more the game does have DLC on the horizon.
Fallen Knight is a tough but entertaining action platformer. Difficult like the retro days but also an appealing challenge if you’re willing to take up the sword and give it a go. I would like to mention that if you’re prone to stress by high difficulty or easily enraged you may just want to pass on this. I totally lost my cool with some of the grindy boss fights but I kept coming back for more. Fallen Knight is totally suitable for all ages, so even if this is not for you it may make an appealing present for a youngling or any fan or Knight robots with swords. And who wouldn’t be into that?
Final Verdict: I Liked it a Lot.