Balancelot review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS4
Platform: Switch, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Jestercraft/AnvilBird Interactive
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

I?m not going to lie: I didn?t even get past the tutorial in Balancelot. There?s more than 50 levels in this game, and I couldn?t even finish one of them.

In my defense, however, I played the tutorial for more than half an hour, and I died more than 100 times over that time span. I feel like I got a sense of what Balancelot has to offer thanks to the many, many times I saw that first level.

And what does it have to offer? Death and lousy controls, obviously. This is a game where you play as a wannabe knight on a unicycle, rolling across the uneven terrain and wielding your lance against enemies. Think Trials, but medieval.

That?s the theory, at least. In practice, the controls make it almost impossible to play. You go forward and backward using the R1 and L1 buttons, except the knight has no balance whatsoever, so more often than not, I found that she?d either immediately faceplant, or fall straight backwards. Rolling up hills was an exercise in frustration, since there was seemingly no way to do so without winding up on your head. On the rare occasions I got over the hills, I?d lurch over the summit, plummet down on my lance, and immediately get pushed onto my back and die.

And speaking of the lance, it?s what really makes Balancelot truly obnoxious. Apart from stabbing at enemies, you have no control over it, so you can?t angle it or tilt it. More often than not, you wind up stabbing uselessly into the ground and launching you directly backwards.

I know, I know: for many, the reaction to all of this will be a simple ?get good.? Except I can?t imagine what good looks like with this game, since it?s essentially designed to be insanely difficult, at least with the PS4 controls.

Moreover, I can?t imagine why you?d want to spend the additional time and energy it would take to get good at Balancelot. It?s pleasant enough to look at, but it falls into the category of Ratalaika games that aren?t even worth the relatively minimal effort they usually require to get a Platinum. It?s just a poorly-designed game that?s not worth the frustration.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Save Farty Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: D-