Knightin’+ review for PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS Vita
Also on: PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Muzt Die Studios
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Knightin’+ describes itself as a “Zelda-lite.”

Now, there are a couple of assumptions you may make based on that sentence. The first is that it’s similar to The Legend of Zelda. The second is that, because of the dropped “g” in the title, this game pokes fun at Zelda-like games. The third is that the “lite” is there because the game is a rogue-lite.

Remarkably, none of these assumptions would be true. It’s only like The Legend of Zelda in that, like the first NES games in that series, it’s top-down and built on 8-bit graphics, but once you get past that, the comparison is a little shaky. Knightin’+ has no overworld, and it’s a series of four dungeons, each a little more difficult with a few more puzzles/enemies/levels than the last. While Zelda had similar elements, the same could go for any number of games from that era that Knightin’+ is drawing from.

Likewise, calling it a rogue-like is kinda borderline. It’s a dungeon-crawler, sure, but there’s nothing here procedurally-generated, there are no permadeaths, your progress carries over from one dungeon to the next — I mean, I don’t think there’s any strict rule about what defines a rogue-lite”, but if Knightin’+ is just a dungeon-crawler, it’s just a dungeon-crawler. No need to try and shoehorn it into another genre just for the sake of a catchy genre name.

As for whether it pokes fun at Zelda or rogue-likes/rogue-lites…sure, there are occasionally jokes in the scrolls that unravel after you beat a level, but that’s about it. There are probably more jokes in the game’s trailer than in the game itself, in fact, so if you’re hoping for some kind of satirical take on, well, anything, this isn’t it.

Despite all my complaints about what Knightin’+ isn’t, I’ve still got to say that it’s a worthwhile game. As someone who’s never had much patience for endless dungeon-crawling, the streamlined nature of the game really spoke to me. As I’ve written before, when it comes to Ratalaika games, it’s always a good sign when I keep on playing even after the Platinum Trophy has popped, and that’s exactly what I did here, too. It also helps that Knightin’+ features cheat codes, which go a long way towards helping you max out your stats and not have to worry about backtracking through the same places over and over again — though, I’ll hasten to add, even before I discovered the codes exist, I was still enjoying my time with the game.

In other words, if you go into Knightin’+ expecting the right things, you’ll probably get a lot more out of it. It’s not ground-breaking in any way, but it’s a solid game nonetheless, and it offers a fun way to pass a couple of hours (and boost your Trophy count/Gamerscore in the process).

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Knightin’+ PS4/Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: B