Red Knight Games is still seeking crowd-funding help for their in-development, platforming side-scroller, Grapple Knight. The game is a complete throwback to the challenging era of 16-bit platformers that helped shape and mold the nostalgia that keeps our memories fond of the Sega Genesis and SNES from back in the 1990s.
The game is made by a small team in a single room and actually seems to be coming along quite nicely. The project lead was nice enough to pass along a demo build for us to play, and it features a few levels that really push the player's skill levels to the limits of frustration and fun.
My very first impression of the game was that it looks and plays like the sort of game that deserved to sit within an alcove of accolades from generations passed, measured against the likes of classics such as Actraiser, Bionic Commando, Excalibur 20XX and Mega Man X. In fact, the game carries a strong semblance of gameplay mechanics to Mega Man X4, where players got to hack and slash their way through enemies as Zero.
While Capcom has all but abandoned Mega Man in search of striking gold with other brands, other studios seem intent on reviving the challenging platform action genre that Capcom helped make legendary, such as Mighty No. 9 and this game here from Red Knight Games.
Grapple Knight encompasses a lot of those classic platforming qualities, including a cleaned up 16-bit look that is both engaging and graphically appeasing. The gameplay, however, is where the game really shines.
Running on the Unity Engine, Grapple Knight allows players to hack, slash, swing, jump, dash, and perform some of the coolest combos in side-scrolling platform history. While the game centers around platform hopping with a grappling hook, the depth extends much further than that thanks to mixed combo mechanics. Players can – very similar to Bionic Commando – grapple and pull themselves to enemies. This allows for some really awesome combo-style attacks, as players can attack dash, grapple-slash and jump attack their way around the screen to dispatch multiple enemies. It's not an easy game to master by a long shot, but I think that's where a lot of the nostalgic appeal comes from: this isn't a microtransaction casual game where victory is handed to you on a silver platter for $5.99 per cheat.
The other thing is that Grapple Knight combines the platforming puzzles with the combat. You'll have to time and gauge where and how to grapple in order to engage enemies while trying to get up top a far reaching tower or a hard to reach platform. As I mentioned, it's not easy but the challenge is in figuring out how to overcome the obstacles of the level. I love the thought-provoking platforming where it's not just about holding down the left trigger and the 'A' button and watching as the character does all the platforming challenges for you.
If you want to see Grapple Knight succeed feel free to pledge a bit of support to the cause by visiting the official Kickstarter page. I liked what I played so far and I do long for more games like this. Hopefully Red Knight Games can deliver.