Knight’s Rush Review

Any game developer who hopes to put together a medieval-themed title has only to keep in mind a few basic points about the days of knights and valor: People wore tin suits, fought a whole lot of wars, and invented new and interesting ways to shove spikes into the soft meat of the human body. Knight’s Rush is a side-scrolling beat-em-up (more like a slice-em-up) that more than adequately pulls up these vital pieces of “history” from the middle ages. There’s a lot of action to be found here, not to mention a lot of blood, and a lot of fun.

In Knight’s Rush, you have your choice of an Endless mode or a Campaign mode. The Campaign mode features a quick story about recovering sacred artifacts, but it’s just a necessary excuse to choose from one of three little warriors and slice, disembowel, and bludgeon the enemies in your path.

Oh, if I had a hammer…

Make no mistake: Your enemies are relentless, and they’ve laid traps everywhere. Advancing isn’t so much about defeating the enemies as it is about carving a path through their cinder block-thick defenses. There are 50 different enemy types crawling around on 40 different campaign levels, not to mention eight bosses.

You’re not totally outclassed, though. Health restoration items lie in wait in treasure chests, and you can garner spells (like dynamite strapped to a squirrel), learn skills, and level up your knight. However, the level-building system in Knight’s Crush is a bit unorthodox. If you die, you’re sent back to the start of the level stripped of everything you’ve built up. The only way back up the ladder is to collect more heads.

On one hand, starting at zero is a good way to test out what power-ups work best for your style of gameplay. On the other hand, it’s a tedious process if you just don’t feel like remembering what you chose last time. More frustrating is the fact that this strange leveling-up system is never fully explained in the game’s tutorial. Fortunately, you gain experience quickly– but stopping to distribute your points breaks up the frantic gameplay, and given how busy the screen is at any time, you’ll often go for ages without paying any attention to your skill points.

Looking down the barrel of a cannon.

“Busy” is probably the best way to describe Knight’s Rush’s graphics and gameplay. The action never stops, and the fluidity of the graphics are, in a word, remarkable. The blood-spattered, cutesy world the knights hack through is more than a little inspired by Castle Crashers for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and Knight’s Rush could do far worse for an inspiration.

Unfortunately, though Knight’s Rush generally does an admirable job scaling down the busy, violent world of Castle Crashers onto the iPhone, there is some trouble with the game’s hit detection. If you’re not lined up perfectly with your opponent, you’ll end up slashing air while the enemy takes chunks out of you. Worse, terrain traps are everywhere, and you can expect to be knocked back into them over and over.

Ah, but nobody said the life of a knight came without bumps and bruises. If you’ve had a hard day at work and you need to get your hands on a game that’s brimming with ridiculous violence and action, you’ll do well with Knight’s Rush. Just don’t hug the protagonists. They’ll behead you.

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