Do you remember that scene in Jim Carrey’s 1996 black comedy, The Cable Guy, where they go to Medieval Times? That was the first thought that popped into our heads when we saw the name ‘Knights of the Round Cable,’ but thankfully, this is nothing like that (despite how much fun debating the historical accuracy of Pepsi might be).
Instead, Knights of the Round Cable sees you take on the role of one of a series of knights, the rest of which are unlockable. They ride into battle (such as it is) atop their… er, flying chicken and use their eponymous cables to latch on to fixed pegs and swing in circles around them to collect gems, avoid enemies, and rescue fair maidens.
And that’s pretty much it. While the game is good and there is something to be said for simplicity, something about Knights of the Round Cable feels like it comes up short of a much greater potential. The game does not seem to have a particular goal in mind, and unlike so many other iPhone games, this one lacks a real sense of progression.
Case in point: When you die, you’re always starting at the first stage again, progressing through until you die and your score is tallied. Each stage, generally speaking, features its own largely-interchangeable adornments, such as witches, ghosts, or dragons, which more or less do the same thing. The dressing may change, but the action tends to feel the same.
This is undoubtedly because there does not seem to be any real endgame in mind. Instead, you’re given a series of objectives (called ‘Missions’) to accomplish according to your rank. These range from such feats as ‘starting a stage with three hearts’ to ‘be in Fiesta Mode for 15 seconds in a row’ and ‘rescue three princesses.’
Sound familiar? It should… at least, if you’re familiar with the concept of achievements. These types of objectives are usually an extra sideshow bonus, something to do for fun or to show off to your friends– perhaps even be a meta-game, if you’re the sort who must collect every achievement in every game you play. But they are rarely if ever used as the actual goal of the game, and as a result, Knights of the Round Cable tends to feel a little hollow and aimless as a result.
Loop de loop.
That isn’t to say that the game isn’t fun, though. As you play, you can earn coins to unlock new knights with special abilities, or otherwise beef them up (and unlike some other games, you don’t feel handicapped at the start by the lack of these items). The foundation is solid, and we only have two real complaints: One is that the stages just tend to feel really, really brief. The gem collecting is over before you know it, and it feels like you should have had a chance to collect more before moving on.
The other is that when swinging, there is no way to extend or retract your cable. On many occasions we’d extend the cable only to be circling the peg just outside the reach of the gems. It seems to happen more often than not, and if that happens, it’s essentially a miss, as you’ll have to try to swing away and then hope to swing back before they disappear. Usually, it just seems more beneficial to move on and try somewhere else than to give it another shot.
To bring this to a frank conclusion, we really like Knights of the Round Cable, but it feels like it could be the foundation of something greater. We hope that Chillingo builds on this with a sequel which truly brings the concept to bear and reaches its full potential.