Sunday, December 30, 2012

Grasshopper follows up Sine Mora with Black Knight Sword

The folks at Grasshopper have done it again, by releasing yet another obscure title. The same masterminds that brought you Killer7, No More Heroes, Shadows of the Damned, and Lollipop Chainsaw have released their newest title, Black Knight Sword. This entry happens to be a side scrolling action platformer for XBLA and PSN. The art style is in the form of a puppet play in which you take on the role of the Black Knight on a fairytale endeavor to beat down the Evil White Princess. In typical Suda 51 fashion, Black Knight Sword boasts a unique Kamishibai paper drama, similar to pop up books using a hand drawn puppet theatre environment.

This title is exactly what you would expect from a Suda 51 game, it is rated M, not surprising as anything less would not provide the experience we have come to expect. The art style is what really shines as it is reminiscent of Little Big Planet but a lot darker; instead of the cute Sackboy and happy world, you embark on quests through a twisted fairytale land that embraces a puppet show style. The gameplay is that of a basic platformer but rather than taking you by the hand, it provides challenge and tests your wits, at times being downright frustrating. Another new aspect of the experience that I am still on the fence about was playing through without continuing. That is not to say you have to play through in one playthrough, but you will have to remember to save when you need a break to prevent from pitching your controller through a window.

I particularly loved the twist of roles where the Black Knight must overcome and take down the Princess’ terror filled reign. The only thing I wish was different would be to include an option to remove the the theatre curtain that takes up a significant amount of screen real estate. Other than that and the challenge, it was a well done platformer that I mostly enjoyed for the style, story, and challenge. Grab your Black Hellebore (sword) and hold on as it is going to be a bumpy ride you will enjoy from start to (if you get there) finish.

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