Wind-up Knight 2 (Wii U) Review

By Aria DiMezzo 14.08.2015

Review for Wind-up Knight 2 on Wii U

It is immediately apparent that Robot Invader has not simply squeezed out a bare game, thrown in a bunch of cookie cutter side tasks and a gimmick, and then called it a day. An appreciable amount of effort and care went into the development of Wind-up Knight 2, but, alas, that a developer cares about the product doesn't mean the game will be any good. Is Wind-up Knight 2 a misguided target for such devotion, or did Robot Invader choose their aims wisely? Cubed3 takes a look.

The number one thing that stands out about Wind-up Knight 2 is the collection of absolutely gorgeous backgrounds. They are rendered beautifully, to the point where they can easily cause deaths simply because it is easy to marvel at the backgrounds instead of watching what Sprint, the protagonist, is doing. The backdrops really are stunning, and easily some of the best that can be found in a temple runner.

That said, Wind-up Knight 2 is a temple runner, but, surprisingly, it provides a lot of manoeuvring options beyond simply jumping and shooting. A wide assortment (a really wide assortment) of traps, terrain types, and other hazards come continuously, even when they do come across as odd (like ice platforms in an otherwise green level), and the effect is that each stage has something new to throw into the mix. This is no more apparent than in Tournament Mode, where there is an online leaderboard, a new level appears daily, and no holds are barred. It provides a nice glimpse of what is to come in later stages, but the high price of admission precludes practicing there; the mode costs tickets, and it's unclear how these are earned, except that one is given freely each day. There is also a Party Mode, which features alternating multiplayer wherein players pass the GamePad around. While that's nice, it's hard not to fault Robot Invader for not supporting other controllers. It's really not a lot of fun to pass a controller around and wait for the current player to screw up, and some New Super Mario Bros. U-style chaos would have been a good fit.

Sprint is a wind-up toy, and he has to collect wind-up items or he self-destructs. In a different type of game, this would be an interesting mechanic (think of the fruit in the original Adventure Island), but that Sprint runs continuously tends to mean players will reach the next one, with little capacity to mess it up, though it is occasionally possible. In addition, Sprint must attack, roll, block with his shield, and jump, so careful attention is required.

Screenshot for Wind-up Knight 2 on Wii U

Wind-up Knight 2 is refreshingly difficult, but there's one problem: the difficulty doesn't matter. Checkpoints are littered through stages at such a frequency that players never have to traverse more than a few seconds of terrain to reach the next one; a given stage will have five to eight checkpoints, but only lasts a minute or so from start to finish. An extreme overabundance of checkpoints totally undermines the difficulty.

The story is properly silly, and the novelty of playing as a heroic knight who received a poor performance review lasts quite a while, and can even garner a few laughs. There's little to be said of the music and sound effects, but, once more, the lush and vibrant backgrounds are the main draw; this is worth playing simply to see the breath-taking backgrounds.

However, Wind-Up Knight 2's gameplay is decent, too, so it's not a terribly tedious experience just to see what amazing backgrounds await in future levels - and there are a lot of future levels. It features some 128 missions across 32 stages. In addition to the "main mission" of simply making it through the level, each also features three side missions that range from things like "only attack while rolling" to "kill no enemies" and to "collect all the fairies."

These cannot be completed during the first play of the level (like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, what is necessary for these secondary tasks isn't even revealed until the level has been completed), but they also can't be completed simultaneously. Each side mission requires its own run through the stage, which can become grating, since nominal changes to the stage don't really make it a new experience.

Screenshot for Wind-up Knight 2 on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Wind-Up Knight 2 is well above the competition of temple runners, but it doesn't pack the weight of a more standardised release. Even with the 32 stages and the surprising amount of variety in stage design, there just isn't all that much to be squeezed out of the genre, although Robot Invader does a thorough job of wringing from simplistic gameplay as much as possible. It will be rather impressive if they meet the high bar they set for themselves by promising a new stage daily, but time will tell and the promise shows a level of commitment that could very well keep players coming back for years.

Developer

Robot Invader

Publisher

Unity Games

Genre

Action

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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