It appears that the Knights of the Round Table (who dance when e’er they’re able) are not what they used to be. Indeed, in Fallen Knight, it appears there has been some kind of unholy Mega Man/Knights of the Round Table fusion experiment going on, and the results, while visually pleasant, do have some drawbacks. Coming from developers FairPlay Studios, does the mixture have some merit, or is the Fallen Knight fusion a step too far? It’s time to strap on some armour to find out.
There are two stories to Fallen Knight, told from the point of view of two different Knights – Lancelot and Galahad – for it is they, although it should be noted that this is Lancelot the 49th, who have different approaches to combat. Galahad is a mean and moody assassin, and his campaign is played out in a rogue-like fashion, where you have one life; when it’s gone, you have to start again from the first stage. Lancelot is the more honourable of the two knights, and as a reward for his honourable style, it appears he can have as many lives as he wishes. There’s a valuable moral lesson there somewhere…
Anyway, both Knights need to stop something called The Purge, an organisation that is dedicated to doing something naughty, possibly involving the Holy Grail, and maybe protecting Neo Utopia? Honestly, storytelling is not Fallen Knight’s strong point, and soon you’ll just go through the levels, dispensing sword-based justice to enemies, until you reach a boss, and then fight that.
So, how does it all look, I hear you ask? Well, it’s clear that a lot of work, and even a touch of love, has gone into the designs of the two Knights we control, and just as much has gone into the the bosses. Lancelot and Galahad gleam in their futuristic armour, looking and moving very well in the levels. The rest of the enemies that you encounter and fight on your way to the bosses are pretty generic if we’re being honest, and you’ll fight almost endless amounts of cookie cutter enemies.
The sound and music are both pretty good as well, and while there’s nothing memorable about the score particularly, neither will it make you want to rip your ears off. That’s obviously a bit of a win.
The thing is, games like Fallen Knight live and die on the combat, and it’s here where the wheels slightly start to become wobbly. They don’t ever fall off, but they are certainly on their way to becoming loose. You see, the game has a couple of brilliant wheezes for the combat, depending on who you are. As Lancelot, apparently killing people who are swinging hammers at your head is considered bad form, and so he has access to a Parry/Disarm move. The idea is that just before an attack hits you, you parry with your sword, disarm the enemy and leave them in a defeated heap on the floor, earning a nice “honour” bonus at the end of each level. If you really want to push your luck, it is possible to parry the bosses too. This is a good idea, but to be honest, I’ve pulled this off deliberately about five times, and the rest have been by accident, mostly as the timing is pretty much impossible for someone with fingers made of flesh and bone.
Galahad meanwhile has no such compunctions about murderising people, and he can assassinate his foes without losing a wink of sleep.
The rest of the combat is a bit underwhelming, with no real feeling of impact. It’s not helped that the Knights have a tendency to stand still while they attack, so you do end up getting tagged a lot more than you would otherwise. There are the usual moves you’d expect, mind; a double jump, a dash, an air dash, and as you defeat the bosses, you get extra abilities, like one for Lancelot that can parry projectiles to send them back to their sender. Unfortunately, in all, the combat just feels a little limp, and certainly not like the Mega Man source material would have you believe. I mean, who brings a sword to a gunfight?
There is a lot of content to go at in Fallen Knight and the platforming action, while not top drawer, isn’t bad. It’s just the whole combat loop that doesn’t seem to work as well as the rest of the game, and when you come to market as a bit of a fighter, that’s pretty much the kiss of death. If you like the Knights of the Round Table, or Mega Man, then it’s possible you will find some fun here, but at the end of the day these Fallen Knights just left me a bit cold.
Fight with the knights in Fallen Knight on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One