Wind-up Knight: A Video Game Review

Wind-up Knight by Robot Invader was originally released for Android and iOS based mobile devices, but it was recently ported to the hackable, Android-based OUYA console (we’ll be talking more about that later). This is where I picked it up, and I have to say that I absolutely love it!

I’m a sucker for platformers as it is, and this one is no exception. The perpetual motion of the game, meaning you have no control to stop your character or to change directions unless you bump in to something, adds a nice twist, and is really good for working out those gaming reflexes. The premise of the game is simple: a bad guy has taken your lady-love, The Princess, and you have to work through the game to go and get her back. The levels have been organized in to 4 books, with each book (as well as later levels) being more challenging than the last. You learn a variety of skills as you go along, such as sword slashing, wall jumping, double jumping, rolling and shield block, and yes, your gear is all upgrade capable.

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I’ve also found that the game has significant replay value. Here’s why: each level is given a grade based on how complete you get it. If you get all the levels in a book at an “A” grade or higher, you unlock a special “Knightmare” level for that book, and I’ve found these to be quite challenging. There is also a playing card to be collected in each level, one suit for each book. Some of these cards are fairly easy to get to, and some require skills that you learn in later levels. Collecting all these cards will unlock new gear, but doesn’t really have anything to do with your completion score for the level.

If you happen to be a completion maniac, like Shawn and I are, you’re going to want to go through and replay all the levels until you collect every coin and every card. Personally, I like seeing all my achievements marked off on the front page of a level. It’s a good feeling.

So, where does the wind up part come in? The knight you’re playing as has a wind-up key in his back. if you allow him to wind-down at any point, you automatically fail the level. You recharge your key by collecting new keys and killing enemies. The gear in the top left-hand corner of the screen lets you know how much wind you have left. Green is good, yellow is safe, red means hurry your ass up. There are items in the armory that will recharge your key once per level, and there are certain levels where I’ve found this useful, but everyone will have their own favourite combination of items.

The graphics are smooth, the music doesn’t want to make me pull my hair out, and when you collect coins is makes a very old-school sounding coin noise. This is always a bonus for me. I also really enjoy watching such a cute little character hack through a cockatrice from above. Something about that gives me extreme satisfaction.

Game play gets a 4/5, graphics get a 4/5, sound gets a 3.5/5 and replay gets a 4/5. For five bucks, I say this is definitely a game worth picking up. It’s easy to learn how to play and consistently fun all the way through. And, although I haven’t played it on a mobile device, this is definitely something I can see working better with a controller, so the OUYA would be my console of choice for this game.

Let me know if you’ve played it in the comments and what you thought!

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