Review: Knytt Underground

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Knytt Underground is the latest iteration in the critically acclaimed Knytt series. It takes place in the same universe as Knytt Stories, the renowned indie game from Nicklas Nygren, a.k.a ‘Nifflas’.  With an unparalleled sense of freedom of movement; running; jumping; climbing; swinging; & bouncing; all blending smoothly to create zen-like gameplay. Exploration feels like a grand adventure that fills you with a desire to see more of the beautiful and strange world. Available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita via the PlayStation Network and on PC.

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Pros:

  •  Beautiful stunning environments that do nothing but bring joy and colour to the adventure, each one is unique and does an excellent job of signposting your route. You wont forget where you saw a particular room, which helps alot later in the game.
  • Gameplay in terms of movement, climbing and jumping is fast and fluid. Trekking through rooms is made easier due to the speed in which in you travel and climb.
  • Each room has its own little challenges that can be done if you want to get to different parts of the game world.
  • Power ups are available to pick up and come in the form of coloured balls of light. Each one has a unique ability ranging from high jump to invisibility to firing projectiles. Each one is either a one time use item or a timed one. Mastering these and using them efficiently is key to unlocking the games secrets.
  • The game world is HUGE, with over 100 rooms for you to explore and with the challenges in rooms, really give the game depth.
  • By challenges what this means could be as simple as working out how to get to a high unreachable ledge. Or it could be getting past enemies without getting killed.
  • You will meet a lot of characters on your way and complete tasks for them in order to carry on with your quest. Most of these quests are mere collect item and return type affair, but can help you unlock new routes.
  • Cloud saving on PS3 allows you to upload your save at anytime, so you can carry on with your game on the Vita and vice versa.
  • Save rooms are scattered all over the land and serve as hidden rooms in most instances.
  • The game is split into 3 chapters. The first chapter serves nothing more than a chunky tutorial level, Chapter 2 introduces a new game mechanic and again is basically a tutorial. Chapter 3 is in my eyes where the true game begins. You have a set goal of ringing x amount of bells, along the way you will do side missions and uncover more of the map as you now have more abilities than the earlier chapters.
  • The game has some wonderful music, which changes as you enter new rooms. The level of atmosphere this brings to what looks like a basic game is really good.
  • The PC version is exactly the same as the PlayStation versions and still maintains an easy control system, only major difference is the lack of cloud saving.

 

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Cons:

  • The jump mechanic while climbing is a bit hit and miss. Basically once you reach the top of climbing something, its possible to accidentally and easily jump off it. While this doesn’t sound like an issue for some of the game, it can cause major frustrating parts when precision is paramount.
  • Quests can sometimes see you traversing a large portion of the map and can begin to grind after a while, especially if its already covered rooms.
  • Exploring whilst being the games strong point, you will always find that when you want to save you cant find a room to save your life! this usually results in a longer than expected game play session. Not always a problem but an issue never the less.
  • There can be a lot of empty baron rooms that fil like filler rooms.
  • Uploading your save to the cloud is manual so it is possible to forget.

 

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In summary the game is a lovely experience. Feeling like N+ as you climb and jump up the walls, with the gran exploring much felt in a RPG game. Couple this with some great music and glorious back drops. For the most immersive experience I highly recommend playing on the vita with headphones. You get out of the game what you put in. If you want to just explore then fine go explore. If you find anything that is needed for a unknown side mission, fear not as the game recognises you have the item and you can auto complete the mission. There is literally hours upon hours of fun to be had. Its a great game to just chill out with. With so many hidden rooms and items you always have to keep your eyes peeled. A pro tip would be to look out for arrows as these always guide you to a save room. With the game being so huge with so much to do and find, you will notice in game forums players pooling information as they all look to complete their collections. Its good to see a game like this encouraging players to unite in a common goal.

 

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The game is available on PSN/PC for £9.99 or FREE on PS PLUS. On PC you can buy it from Fastspring & Gamer’s Gate, a demo is available on their website:  Nifflas’ Games website.

You can also vote for Knytt Underground on Steam Greenlight: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=113281105

About the author

Jim Smale I am a long term video game fan, Starting on a Atari 2600 and working my way through the golden Nintendo era. Now writing in my own unique style, I hope to provide gamers with a new way in which to read reviews.

Jim Smale

I am a long term video game fan, Starting on a Atari 2600 and working my way through the golden Nintendo era. Now writing in my own unique style, I hope to provide gamers with a new way in which to read reviews.