Weird name. At first I thought this was another pixelated game clinging onto the olden days, in the style of a classic side scroller. It sort of is. But this isn’t a bad thing – Gryphon Knight Epic is brilliant.
You’re a knight that’s basically saved the land and spend your days doing chores like picking up fresh bread for the princess you rescued. Only thing is – you’re a badass knight, and that’s boring. Thankfully when an evil clone of yourself turns up and reveals that all your old raiding buddies are now evil thanks to possessed weapons (you didn’t get one, you got a lame amulet that cures the curse) – you have to go and save them, and kill evil you.
It’s a really surprising and hilariously brilliant plot. At first I was nonplussed – I quickly became interested. Once in game you’ve got standard side scrolling stuff, flying up down left right on your bird thing, shooting baddies. But there’s way more to this than that. To start with, you can go left and right, so traversing the level in a slightly different way. You’ll also come across branching paths giving you a bit more flexibility on getting through the levels. I wish this was a little faster as the slowness of the scrolling put me off exploring a bit but it’s a minor niggle.
It gets better still though – as you play you start to unravel a much deeper game. As well as your default shot you can gain other weapons which give you different types of attacks which use varying magical powers. You can get potions to use at points to replenish magic and/or health and ‘hire’ little buddies to fly alongside and buff your powers. There becomes a layer of strategy in selecting your build (you can change weapons at any point though) as you navigate a variety of colourful and weird levels populated with flying eyeballs to forest goblins to a giant elephant.
There’s a rogue-like element at play with gold earned to buy better upgrades – and with 8 levels it sort of feels a bit short but there’s replayability here with different difficulties and the persistent collection of gold. The soundtrack is pleasant and non-offensive – it serves to add to the overall charm and that’s a good way to describe this game really; charming.
Personally I’d prefer a bit more pace and bullet hell shooters are more my thing but I really enjoyed this – there’s a lot of love which has gone into creating the levels and the characters. The dialogue is simple and funny with a nice twist on a classic tale of medieval knights saving the land. Worth checking out.
Reviewed on PS4