Wind-Up Knight, a challenging side-scroller from Robot Invader, is now available from the app store. Featuring a crank-driven hero, beautiful 3D graphics, and timing-based gameplay, Wind-Up Knight’s fate, and the fate of the princess, are in your hands.
Wind-Up Knight Pros:
- Terrific 3D graphics with enjoyable lighting effects and exciting environments
- Catchy soundtrack
- Dedicated buttons for individual actions
- Challenges ramp up the difficulty at a good pace
Wind-Up Knight Cons:
- Buttons are too small and seem to suffer from some unresponsiveness
- Framerate can be choppy and app instability leads to crashing
- No social gaming network integration
Wind-Up Knight is a crank-driven figurine who has been called into service when the princess goes missing. An e-mail from her abductor, the Black Knight, sets him about his journey, spanning more than 50 levels of delicately-timed jump, rolls, and sword swipes. Wind-Up Knight runs to his right at a constant pace, though bumping into a safe wall will send him scurrying in the opposite direction. As he makes his way toward the goal, there are coins, keys, and cards to collect, as well as fowl to destroy. The coins can be used in the shop to purchase better helmets, swords, shields, and armor. The cards appear once per level, and are often tricky to spot and/or acquire. The keys are necessary to keep the knight wound, as he is forever winding down without them. Go too long without one and you’ll stall out, ending your attempt. The environments are full of platforms, lengthy jumps, spikes, and chickens that will peck you to death unless you can be quick enough with your sword to strike first. The further you get into the game, the more devious and insidious the challenge becomes. You’ll need to use double-jumps, wall slides, and other nimble moves just to stay alive. Dedicated buttons are used for each of the actions, requiring you to keep straight which buttons perform which actions as the level layouts mix up the actions in a confusingly fun fashion. We’ve suffered numerous deaths simply for forgetting which button controlled which action when the pressure was on. There are no checkpoints, so any failures will send you right back to the start of the level.
Graphically, Wind-Up Knight runs through a 3D world of polished visuals, including lighting effects that give a day/night feel to your progression. The angled viewpoint doesn’t always make it evident where the end of a platform is, which can lead to early jumps that leave you short of the next platform or late jumps that simply send you running off into nothingness. Your jump length appears to be fixed, requiring you to face certain death if your timing is off even slightly. There were some issues with framerate stuttering on our late-model iPod Touch that caused a good deal of frustration, too. The soundtrack has a manic feudal feel to it, matching the game’s motif, speed, and theme. The controls are easy enough to use, but the buttons are a bit on the small side, which leads us to believe that we’ve missed on several occasions. Otherwise, their small “hit” area may simply lack the responsiveness necessary for this style of gameplay.
Replay value is pretty good, as your results on each level take into account the number of coins you collected, whether or not you found the card, and a letter grade for your overall performance. Any of these could be improved upon additional runs. We did experience a good deal of app instability, though not as much as some other big titles we’ve reviewed lately. Still, the game typically crashed upon first launch, requiring a second attempt to gain access to play. We were occasionally kicked out of the game after a level, too. Otherwise, there’s a lot to like about this title once the kinks are ironed out. A universal app for $0.99, Wind-Up Knight is a fun 4-Dimple effort.
Wind-Up Knight Review,