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Knights & Guns Review


What do you think would have happened if, back in the olden days, people went into battle inside mobile tin cans whilst the other side of the fight had access to modern weaponry? I’m not talking flintlock pistols here either, but modern and futuristic weapons? It would have been a bit one sided, no? Well, in Knights & Guns, we get the chance to find out. 

Coming from Baltoro Games, we are tasked with getting tooled up with shooters and perforating all manner of nasty beasties. So, strap on your armour, and let’s take a look at what’s what, shall we?

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The story of Knights & Guns is the usual kind of throwaway nonsense that we normally see in games that rely only on shooting action. In this game, a Brotherhood (with a capital B, no less) of knights was led by the 12th Captain and his two commanders. Between them they have a special arcane power that allows them to summon and use firearms, something that may be considered unsporting in a time of swords. One day, during a battle, the Captain betrays his Brotherhood and kills all of the members, except his two commanders, who escape. Now, if I was the captain, and knew that the two commanders could summon guns, I would have made a special effort to make sure they were dead. Still, his oversight sets up the revenge tale for the game, so we’ll overlook it for now. It’s up to us to chase across the land, get rid of all the monsters, and have a sharp word with our former friend.

Set-up in place, the presentation side of Knights & Guns is pretty basic, being kind. There are a few screens you will find yourself in as play progresses, but the majority will be spent in a platform type screen. The knights we control can only fire straight up, vertically, which seems a little odd, but given that almost every single foe has an attack pattern that involves jumping in the air, you do have ample opportunity to shoot them as they pass over your head. 

The enemies are a well designed bunch, ranging from tiny buzzing flies all the way up to giant robots and spiders, along with a scattering of bosses. The knights are nicely drawn too, and there is a pleasing kind of hand drawn vibe to the whole game. The other screens you will see involve a map, where you choose where to go next on your journey, and a shop that lets you go and spend your hard earned gold. But it’s the sound which is worthy of special praise, as not only are the gunfire and monster noises bang on, but there is a thumping great metal/heavy rock soundtrack that matches the action perfectly. It had me nodding my head – until I realised it kept getting me killed. 

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The gameplay on offer here is pretty simple. Choose a level, choose a weapon, and then load in and attempt to win. There are a few different ways to complete the levels though and by far the easiest (on paper at least) is to stay alive for a certain amount of time. As time goes by, more and more enemies spawn in, and so while in the early stages you can just concentrate on dodging the enemies, soon you will have to try and thin the herd. Of course, shooting a lot of monsters just splits them into two monsters, so it isn’t without risk. 

The second way to win is to kill everything that spawns your way across a number of waves. Each wave has a set number of monsters, and destroying them all is the key to victory. The third type of common levels involves some Crystal monsters that take a large amount of ammo to destroy, and we have to kill a certain number in a limited time. Of course, they don’t come alone, and so these can be quite frantic stages, as the clock counts down and you try desperately to focus fire only on the Crystal beasty. There are also boss levels at the end of each section of the map, but I shall keep the secrets of those back for fear of spoilers. 

In addition to the campaign mode outlined above, there is an Endless mode to try as well, which does what it says on the tin basically – monsters spawn, you shoot them, rinse and repeat! Now, it is here (and also in the Campaign levels) that a second set of hands will come in handy, and luckily two player local co-op is included. Twice the bullets doesn’t quite equal double the fun, as your opponents do get stronger with an extra player, but the whole co-op mode works very well. 

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There is a huge amount to discover on this journey as well, as the map screen is littered with not only the regular path you need to take to complete the section of the map you are on, but also extra levels to try and complete, with chests, keys (to open the chests) and even locked gates to overcome. You can also find scrolls in the map, and beating the level they are on allows you to uncover a picture that relates to the story of the game somehow. With over 140 levels to go at, and nine levels in Endless mode, there is no shortage of content to be found in Knights & Guns, and the best bit is that the levels are short and very fast paced; picking up the controller for a few minutes at a time is a perfectly valid way to play this game. 

I’ll admit, Knights & Guns probably feels more suited to a handheld console over Xbox, to be honest, but on the whole you’ll find it to be a blast (sorry) to play. The large number of guns to choose from, and the score chasing gameplay are just the icing on the cake of this piece of gaming goodness. 

Knights & Guns is on the Xbox Store

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