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Knights And Bikes Review

Edited by: Jade Swann

Developed by Foam Sword and published by Double Fine Productions, Knights And Bikes is a quirky, family-friendly co-op (or solo) adventure that captures the playfulness and resilience of childhood. This successful Kickstarter project allows you to connect locally or online to play with a partner, or go it alone by having the AI take over as the second player. Availability on Windows, Mac, Linux, and PS4 (and being recommended for ages seven and up) expedites finding people to play with.

THE ISLAND OF PENFURZY

The two protagonists, Demelza and Nessa, are small girls with large imaginations. Choose one of them to play as, or switch back and forth between the two in single-player mode, making use of their different abilities. Both girls must work together to accomplish their goals — but you won't mind, because their dynamic is entertaining and heartwarming. You will need to use your keyboard to play, which can feel a little awkward at first, but you'll soon get used to it. If you hate keyboard-driven games, you'll want to stay clear of this one.

Penfurzy Island is the place where all your adventures will go down. It's a secluded island full of history, magic, and treasure, which is the perfect setting for mystery and exploration. The small-town feel comes across exceedingly well, as everyone knows everyone else on the island, and technology runs behind what you might find in less isolated areas (keeping in mind that the title is set in the 80s). The location not only allows beautiful scenery, but also lends credibility to the protagonists being able to run all over town without an adult present.

MISCHIEF TO GET UP TO

There are puzzles to solve, locations to explore, monsters to battle, races to win, and bicycles to upgrade. Adorable character abilities include using wellington boots to cause "splash damage" (from puddles), tossing frisbees to hit creepy-crawlies right between the eyes, water balloons, and a boom box. You'll be able to get around town quickly with your trusty bike (or "horse", as the girls imagine it), which can be decorated and upgraded if you've collected enough "treasure" (A.K.A. junk, such as bottle caps, ticket stubs, broken toys, and keychains). Customization options include: paint color, mud guards, flags, wheel decorations, and more. 

LEGEND AND DIALOGUE

Reality dishes out some harsh circumstances for our two heroines, which was an excellent choice on the part of the designers. If they had shied away from heavy material, Knights And Bikes would appeal to a far narrower audience, and it wouldn't be as deep or rewarding. As it stands, adults can appreciate the portrayal of a child's handling of an overwhelming circumstance, which sometimes means ignoring it, sometimes fantasizing that things were different, and sometimes facing it with the confident optimism that comes from feeling invincible.

FUNNY THINGS

Humor is palpable in the environment, as well as the dialogue. The hand-drawn world and characters have a zaniness to them, and little details scattered everywhere will catch you off-guard and make you smile. For example, your third party member is a goose named Captain Honkers who has a hilarious waddle-run you'll likely never tire of watching. I don't want to spoil the other gems you can uncover if you keep your eyes peeled, but I will say that the humor and art design reminds me strongly of the comic Hyperbole and a Half (which I'm a huge fan of). 

8

The Verdict: Excellent

This girl-power tale is cutesy without being superficial. There's a healthy mix of friendly competition between you and your partner (or the AI) and cooperation, and gameplay switches up often enough — especially with new abilities added along the way — that it never gets stale. Greats laughs, innocent fun, and truly stellar artwork lies in wait for anyone, of any age, who is ready to grab their virtual bike and go old-school adventuring. 

See About Us to learn how we score

Tiffany Lillie
Written by
Friday, 20 September 2019 05:17
Published in Adventure

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Proud Editor-in-Chief here at OPNoobs, Tiffany is ready and willing to help sentences in need. (Sometimes all she can do is make them comfortable before they're deleted.) Her hobbies include trying to survive in Don't Starve: Together and designing 3D houses in Blender to upload to the virtual world of Second Life. Originally from Canada, Tiffany says "about" strangely sometimes (but it sounds nothing like "aboot") and she's enjoying her transition from snow to rain in Seattle. She graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, majoring in English and minoring in Philosophy and Writing & Rhetoric. She believes thinking helps writing and vice versa.

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