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Hyper Knights

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Endless Loop Studios
Developer: Endless Loop Studios
Release Date: May 19, 2017


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PC Review - 'Hyper Knights'

by Cody Medellin on June 16, 2018 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Raise your army, recruit knights to join your cause, command armies, siege enemy castles, raid outposts, ambush convoys, and use the loot to build your lands.

Sometimes, simplicity works. We live in an era where games can introduce a dozen new mechanics, and tutorials can sometimes take up a great chunk of the playtime. There are times when you crave the classic days of gaming, where your objective was straightforward from the first level onward. Hyper Knights takes that simplicity to heart by providing a game where the action is plentiful, the strategy is light, and the fights are rather quick.

In Hyper Knights, you play the role of a nameless knight. At the start of the game, your castle is immediately under attack, and you and the rest of the knights feel overwhelmed and decide it would be best to flee. Without a place to call home, you vow to take back the lands, one parcel at a time.

The game starts off like an action title. You're accompanied by a small mob of swordsmen and archers that will fight for you. In most battles, your job is to eliminate all of the enemy forces in your way. Attacking your enemy isn't simply a matter of mashing buttons, as each foe has a specific button pattern above their heads. Follow the pattern, and you'll successfully kill that soldier. Messing up doesn't reset the pattern, but it means that it'll take a little longer to kill your enemy; it's detrimental since you can easily be overwhelmed by lots of soldiers sporting different patterns. Dying doesn't mean the end of the battle, but you lose if all of your soldiers die, regardless of whether you're still among the living.

The hardest part of the fighting system, aside from your lack of durability, is resisting the urge to mash buttons. Almost all of the enemies follow some combination of X and Y button presses, so it's almost instinctual to approach a mob and spam both buttons in hopes that it'll be enough to quickly kill the enemy. You have to learn to use your special abilities and dashes to thin the herd, so playing it smart is key to surviving long enough to help out your fellow soldiers instead of expecting them to win a battle on their own.

While your allies are mostly competent, it all falls apart when there are encampments in the stage. Destroying the encampments is necessary for winning the battle, but your allies suddenly lose the desire to fight. You have to manually bring up a map and cursor and point them to the correct location before they fight, and you have to do this at every encampment since they seem to fall asleep once one is destroyed — even though others remain. It also doesn't help that you can't destroy the buildings yourself, so if you've destroyed all of the enemy soldiers in the area, you have to play a waiting game because you have to let your other allies handle the structures.

Once you invade the castle and take over the first area in the game, the strategy portion of the title opens up. The game begins to take on some traits of that genre, as your own territories begin to produce extra soldiers to replace ones you've lost in the battlefield. You'll also produce lots of gold, which can be used to buy knights to either follow you into battle or send out to take over other lands. On the RPG side, each battle nets XP and points, which you can use to power up your stats or get new power moves.

That really is the gist of Hyper Knights. It changes very little from that initial takeover of your first territory, and beyond battling enemy heroes who are tougher to kill and respawn constantly, your approach to each territory is always the same. Raid a village to lower the enemy reinforcement supply, destroy a camp, and take over a castle while dealing with enemies roaming around the territory. None of the battles are lengthy, and you'll only spend a few hours in the campaign trying to take over all territories. While there is multiplayer, no one is around to play against. At the very least, the game features a New Game+ mode, which is significantly more difficult, so there is something to look forward to if the campaign wasn't enough.

The presentation also embraces the theme of simplicity. The game relishes in using a small color palette, and the size of the characters can make it tough to see if you're playing this on a TV and there's a good distance between you and the screen. Character models are a little more than basic human shapes with disconnected limbs, but it performs well when there are tons of enemies on-screen, even if you're using a low-spec card and using that to push things to 4K. Audio is rather basic, as only one song seems to be used, and the sound effects fail to stand out, even with the lack of voices.

Hyper Knights is a game played best in short bursts. The quick fights are fun on their own, even if you never become strong enough to take on entire armies without dying, and taking over a territory is effortless but still exciting. Having said that, the flaws — from the unresponsive AI to the inability to do simple things like break structures on your own — seem like baffling omissions. The title only costs $5, so you will get your money's worth of fun, but don't expect it to be a hidden treasure.

Score: 6.0/10

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