Good puzzle games are hard to come by, and that is why the Knightfall series is one of our favorite guilty pleasures when it comes sneaking off in a little corner of the office to play a quick game or two. The concept is simple, move things around in a block grid by simply destroying blocks. Gravity pulls everything down and you must twist the board left and right in order to get everything falling in just the way you want to. The logic is simple, the execution is artistically done, and most importantly, the resulting gameplay is nothing short of addictive.
Knightfall 2 follows the events right after the end of the original game, so if you are a stickler for continuity (or juts looking for something nice to play), we do recommend that you give the first game a quick whirl. In any case, you will not miss out on anything major from the first game in terms of story or gameplay, but it certainly helps the experience to know what happened in the first title.
A Bit of Realistic Comedy
We follow the adventures of the brave knight -you know, the same guy who completed the task in the first game. As the opening narrative of Knightfall 2 unfolds, we find our hero drinking away as he thinks about the events of the previous game. For those of you curious, a large dark dragon like creature has taken a princess hostage. The knight decided to venture into the cave, defeated the dragon with his drill-lance weapon and he and the princess married at the very end.
Well, that seems all well and good, but it seems that good fortune has not been treating our knight properly. Presently, he loafs about at home, dressed in nothing but his chest plate and boxers while his wife (the princess) is going about doing the chores. Tired of having her husband lazily lounging in the couch, she tosses him out into the streets and apparently, tell him not to come back home empty handed.
So off you go on the start of a new adventure. While our knight has no specific quest in mind to accomplish, he certainly is not going to come back home without something to give his wife.
Our knight is lucky to have plenty of quests to accomplish after stepping outside his house -it seems that the nearby villages are being harassed by orcs, and if that was not enough, it appears that even more danger lurks beyond the villages. And this means that you will have plenty of places to visit and conquer as you find treasure and something worthy of your wife.
The game will have you fighting enemies in dungeons and various locations -all of which are depicted in a block-filled game board. Here, you must destroy blocks to make them move downwards. You may turn the board over clockwise or counterclockwise in order to change the way the blocks fall. Aside from blocks, your knight will also be there along with a key, an exit door, some useful items, and lastly a few enemies.
In order to beat an enemy, you must make your knight drop on the enemy from above. If you are ever to the immediate left or right of the enemy (or by a slight distance, depending on the enemy's attack range), you will be the one taking some damage. Items on the stage will either reward you with more HP, gold or other valuable commodities, power ups as well as combat resources. To finish a stage, you must retrieve the key and get your knight to the door.
Since you do not directly move the knight, you must plan out the details of your block-breaking. Smash too few and you will quickly run out of mana and health - build up too much of a combo and you might just lose a good positioning of items. This is a thinking man's game -and it will penalize players who move without thinking ahead. The greatest part is that planning your moves actually pays off, and some strategic economizing of your gold budget is also needed for those who plan to play the game in its entirety.
We just love the fact that you get to accomplish well written missions in each major area of the game. Figuring out how to play the game properly is just the first part of the challenge, managing your inventory, creating massive combos and setups on enemy targets all adds up to a satisfying experience as you watch your well planned moves finally reach that payoff result that you wanted. Also, the devs certainly did not slack off when it came to creating a good world for our intrepid knight.
A Breathtaking Fantasy World
The thing about fantasy books that we really enjoy are the amazing illustrations that appear on the cover and the inserts -as fanciful as they are, they always have that alluring sparkle that makes us all feel drawn to it. Knightfall 2 deliver the same visual experience.
The game's visuals are a cross between 16-bit style sprite graphics and some well created cel art for the backgrounds. The end result is a classic video game look that is hard to beat and is well executed. While most of the actual onscreen events tend to be very lighthearted and funny (some are even a little slapstick at times), there is no doubt that the over tone of the visuals feel solid and immersive -which is a big feat for a game of this scale.
This is most noticeable when you reach specific areas such as the various villages which paint a very somber and dull look while the rainbow crossing appear very magical and intriguing. With backgrounds that evoke plenty of emotions, it is quite easy to find oneself enjoying the adventures of the knight.
Speaking of which, most of the story is laid out in text based narratives -which actually works. This approach gives the feel of an old storybook (or a pseudo-RPG title) which matches well with the rest of the game. The animations of the sprites are quite minimal, but they work effectively in delivering and conveying the message of specific scenes.
The actual board itself is a cleverly made block puzzle similar to Awesome Ghosts vs Stupid Zombies that is easy to learn with a couple of tries. No matter how much details are placed on screen at the same time, the visuals are easy to understand and nothing clutters your view -this is one game where the aesthetics also serve a very functional purpose for the players.
The music is nice, though you might want to tone down the treble volume on your equalizer, some of the audio effects sound a little sharp and depending on your speakers, it might be a bit harsh to the ears. Aside from that however, the rest of the score is actually pretty nice to listen to. The sound effects are quite minimal, but they certainly fit the events and most importantly, they help you out when it comes to setting a pace for deleting blocks in succession.
The only drawback to Knightfall 2 truly has is the fact that the overall challenge level might be a little unforgiving for novice players. As said, this game will penalize players for wrong moves such as not conserving mana by destroying too many blocks in a stage. These factors matter, and the game spares no time in teaching this lesson to players. Nevertheless, Knightfall 2 typical is highly enjoyable. It combines heavy use of strategy and planning with a really nice fantasy based environment. Most of the game's action appears in the board game parts and it really provides puzzle players with a game that offers both story and gameplay. The amazingly well drawn backgrounds, memorable characters, easy to learn controls, and addictively mind-sharpening gameplay, makes Knightfall 2 one of our top picks for this year.