PC, early access
This isn’t a review, because a) I haven’t got far enough into the game, and b) the game hasn’t got far enough into the game. But I’m willing to call it now that Good Night, Knight is a really fascinating and entertaining take on the brawler roguelite.
Released into Early Access on Steam this week, and intending to spend a year there, I’m very surprised this hasn’t already caught a lot more attention. While it plays very differently, there’s a strong whiff of Rogue Legacy about this, in the sense of a fresh take on a genre, with bold, fun characters, and a hefty degree of very well delivered silliness. But this is no platformer – it’s a twin-stick hack-n-slash action game, that constantly builds on itself the more you play.
You play a knight, tasked by a “professional questgiver” with ascending a large tower to, er, save the day? It’s probably not important. What matters is that you begin with nothing, and then start gathering equipment as you explore the ground floor. Sword, shield, perfect. Then shoes that help you run fast, springs that let you jump further (to cross pits), greaves that let you grab enemies, the ability to sneak, and on and on, piling up delightfully.
It’s only the first time you need to return to the base camp to rest (the only reliable way to regain health) that you learn you’re now overburdened, and there’s only so much of those goodies that you can take back in with you. Curses. However, as these items ‘level up’ – another thing that occurs when experience is added on returning to base – their burden on you reduces. The more you use stuff, the less it weighs you down, and the more new stuff you can add in!
Which seemed like plenty, to me. And then I discovered the potions you can craft. And the weapons you can improve. And the abilities you can pick from. And so many other features, that don’t overwhelm but instead introduce themselves logically and gradually, as the game just grows and grows around you.
It even introduces fake-out features, jokes I won’t spoil, but then has the sense to back that up with something real and useful. Juggling load-outs, figuring out the sort of approach you want to take to a run, adds a lot here. You can go in equipped for destruction, and try to make good progress through the many starting points available on each floor. Or you can set yourself up for grabbing enemies instead of slicing them, dragging them to exit points and harvesting their valuables in the process. Crafting runs, basically, as you gather materials for the various elements you can put together in your tent’s many stations.
And it’s a bit Soulslike too, with a stamina bar for combat/running/jumping, meaning fighting needs to be judiciously handled, not just running in with your sword waggling, hoping for the best. But rather little bursts, trying not to alert all a room’s enemies at once, but rather picking them off (or grabbing them), stepping back to rapidly recover. Oh, and yes, the levels are all completely dark, though brilliantly depicted as just dulled. You can only see enemies in your cone of sight, blocked by pillars and crates, enemies “invisible” when you’re not looking at them.
Plus, it’s really funny! The only thing it’s really lacking right now is colour. Partly because of the darkened levels, but also because the palette is just too muted. It could really do with brightening up.
There’s such a lot in here, and this is at the beginning of a year’s planned public development. So I do worry that the public hasn’t yet noticed it. It’s got local co-op too! Come on! Currently there are three levels of the tower complete, which offers an awful lot to do. This is planned to double by the end. They will apparently increase the price during development, which… I’m not sure how that will go for them. But I’m confident it’s worth getting in now.