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Knights N Squires: breathing new life into a tired genre

Knights N Squires: breathing new life into a tired genre

| April 21, 2014

I was not expecting to like Knights N Squires. In fact, I was expecting to lambast it as another running game with yet another uninteresting twist. But here I am about to tell you to go and play this game, not later, not soon, but now! Knights N Squires is a running game, but it is also one of the most challenging fighting games I have ever played on a mobile device.

I think we need bigger swords.

I think we need bigger swords.

More importantly, it’s one of the few fighting games that works on a mobile device. South Korea’s Com2us has done a fantastic job on Knights N Squires and though it’s not a perfect game, it is bloody good!

How it works

If TianTian KuPao and Dungeons and Dragons had a baby it would look something like this. Knights N Squires is a running game, but it’s not endless.

The game is divided into levels which you must hack and slash your way through, and at the end you have to kill a boss monster.

(See: TianTian KuPao review: China’s most popular free iOS game isn’t free at all)

A goblin with a buzz-saw. Evolution is beautiful.

A goblin with a buzz-saw. Evolution is beautiful.

But don’t worry: you are not alone. You will rescue allies during your journey who can join you and fight on your side. They have an auto attack but you can select when to use their special abilities, which can be anything from a hammer attack to a healing mist.

Knights N Squires requires you to attack, block, and throw your shield in order to progress, and rewards you for doing so quickly. As your combo score increases, so does your attack speed allowing for more efficient murder.

Cute does not equate easy

Cute games are usually easy games and when you look at Knights N Squires’ chibi characters, you’re probably not expecting challenging combat with a steep learning curve.

I  may look cute, but I am badass!

I may look cute, but I am badass!

As I mentioned, Knights N Squires requires some serious focus. Killing flying enemies requires you to throw your shield, which leaves you with nothing to block with. Now this sounds like a small thing, but it isn’t.

When you have five enemies bearing down on you and you need to throw your shield, things become much more complicated. So blocking, throwing, and using special abilities becomes quite a tactical affair.

Decent RPG elements

An extra layer of depth is added to Knights N Squires through the introduction of RPG elements. Your character and allies level up as you progress and you can upgrade them by using other allies as material. Sounds like sacrifice to me but no one is talking about the elephant in the room, so I guess it’s fine.

Nobody questions why the monsters store party members in treasure chests.

Nobody questions why the monsters store party members in treasure chests.

Also there are items. Lots of items, to use and sell. Swords have elemental attributes, shields and armors can increase HP, reduce cool-downs, and do the things we love from RPG knick-knacks. Unlike many games where the RPG elements feel unnecessary, gearing up is essential in this game. If you don’t upgrade your allies or level them up, then you aren’t going to get far.

(See: Line’s Run Run Hero Review: Why being linear isn’t all that bad)

In-app purchases and advertising

Yay! This game features non-invasive in-app purchases (IAP) and only one super annoying fullscreen advertisement is present in this game. There are a lot of IAPs including upgrading your item slots, buying new main characters, and upgrading the dreaded stamina system.

Some of these prices seem a little... optimistic.

Some of these prices seem a little… optimistic.

Don’t get me wrong, I still hate stamina systems and wish they would stop ruining great games like Mobfish Hunter and killing fond memories of games of yesteryear. Dungeon Keeper still hurts.

(See: Dungeon Keeper review: it’s not bad, it’s disappointing)

At least in Knights N Squires the system is not too restrictive, and I always took a break naturally before running out of stamina.

Pay to win

There is definitely a pay-to-win element in Knights N Squires. There are two alternative characters you can buy, one with a much larger attack range, and one that can block after throwing her shield. Paying for these characters seems to be essential if you want to be among the top ranking players. The standard character doesn’t appear once in the top 20 of the ranking system.

pay to win

There are moments when playing as the standard character feels like moving through molasses. Grinding is often necessary to survive later levels. If I could block and take out flying enemies at the same time, that would make life a lot easier.

More choices please

If I were to make a recommendation for future updates it would be to add further customization options. The RPG elements are really cool but it sucks that there’s no way to make your character unique. Even being able to change the colors of your character’s equipment would make my characters feel more like my own.

cute

The last thing necessary to push Knights and Squires from good to awesome is less repetition and more variation. Give us branching pathways, and a choice of areas to fight in. This would make the whole world feel more vivid and alive. As it is, your character fights along a designated path, with many of the levels in each area seeming all-too familiar. Variety is the spice of life and Knights and Squires could use some more spice.

Is it worth a try?

I think I covered this in the first paragraph but yes, yes it is. There’s a great action game underneath the cute exterior, and the high speed gameplay will keep you coming back for more. If you have a few dollars to spare, I recommend picking up the extra characters; they make a big difference and are not expensive.

You can download Knights and Squires for iOS here and Android here.

Review Overview

Gameplay (Max 4)
3
Graphics (Max 2.5)
2.2
Sound (Max 1.5)
1.2
Content (Max 2)
1.2
7.6

Surprisingly good

The Good: Excellent style and complicated combat make this a game I can't put down.

The Bad: Pay to win options cheapen the experience somewhat and the game has a bad habit of repeating the same level several times.

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Comments

  1. Castle Crashers?

  2. Clovis Gutiérrez

    Pretty good review, but you forgot to mention a very important aspect of this game.

    While pay2win is a thing, you don’t need to pay actual money for anything. There are many ways to consistently get gems and gold; so, if you’re patient enough, you will get all you need and want, without spending any cent.

  3. Vo Huy

    i had a problem since the updating so far. as soon as i log in the system kick me out. i need to log out and log in many times to enjoying the game. it is really annoying me. is there anyway to fix it. if i delete the software and reset again, my account will be missing ? Thanks

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