By Joe Sigadel / November 16th, 2015
|Title||Super Chibi Knight|
|Publisher||Armor Games, PestoForce|
|Release Date||June 24, 2015|
In a market full of more indie games than any of us know what to do with, it’s difficult nowadays to find something that really stands out for being unique. Super Chibi Knight’s creation is a story that fascinated me ever since I’d first heard of it. The game is the creation of indie developer Nick Pasto’s (who you may know for his work on Abobo’s Big Adventure) eight year old daughter Bella, with the characters and environments straight out of her imagination. She described the Chibi Knight character in a Steam Greenlight promo video as “a little gumdrop who fights bosses,” and indeed, you will be fighting quite a lot of them in this game. (As an aside, you can’t really help but be charmed watching her talk about Super Chibi Knight; even though I’m not a parent myself it was really heartwarming to see her so enthusiastic about this project she and her dad worked on together.)
Bella provides the voice for our heroine, and, while that may annoy some who aren’t familiar with the game’s development, to me it sounds genuine and real, like you know right off the bat that this game is a family’s labor of love. To summarize, Super Chibi Knight is one of those rare examples of a child’s imagination brought to life through the medium of gaming through the efforts of an adult, much like how Axe Cop did the same for comic books. You can tell immediately just by looking at the art that this was kid-made, but that doesn’t mean that its quality suffers from its cartoonish design. The music was composed by Brian Allen Holmes, with over 70 tracks in the game that give it a whimsical, yet epic classical soundtrack to accompany all your adventuring and monster slaying.
Super Chibi Knight plays a lot like Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. You have an overworld map with many different subareas you can visit simply by touching a landmark, regardless of the direction from which you approach it. It’s kind of sensitive, and I wish Nick had put in a confirm prompt to make sure I wanted to go inside a place. Anyway, the bulk of your time will be spent roaming around and completing quests for the townspeople, making a beeline towards the colored dots on your minimap to find items, slay bosses and rescue heroes of old to expand your moveset and allow you to perform more actions as you go along. Chibi Knight can dash on the ground and in the air, throw fireballs, and do a jumping whirling slash, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Encountering enemies is as simple as touching them on the map and then jumping right in to slash away, racking up experience as you go. As you gain levels, you are given a choice between getting more armor, raising your ‘special’ meter which allows you to perform more special moves like casting spells and summoning mounts (which I’ll go over in a bit), and making your sword stronger. Naturally, you’ll want to do all three of these, but one thing to keep in mind is that the increase in armor won’t protect you from hazards that cause instant death, like spikes and lava.
Midway through your journey to stop the evil General Tso, you’ll be given a choice to continue onwards by ship, or take a treacherous volcanic mountain path to another village, which puts you through another set of trials and boss fights to further strengthen Chibi Knight. By completing these tasks, you’ll earn the ability to summon mounts, which consumes a large amount of the Special meter and should be used only when they’re absolutely necessary to proceed, or if you’re in a tough boss battle and you need it to overcome the odds. The different mounts serve different purposes, such as clearing boulders, protecting you from hazards like falling rocks, or flying and breathing fire to roast your enemies. Once it’s all said and done, you’ll be put through a sort of mini-boss rush and finally duel Tso himself, but not before the friends and people you’ve helped along the way take some shots at him to soften him up a bit first.
Super Chibi Knight is a pretty short but sweet affair — light on story but satisfying when you get right into the sword-slashing, spell-casting and monster-summoning action. I managed to finish the game in about two hours, and, although the deaths were a bit frustrating, the game itself wasn’t overly difficult. If the novelty of a father and daughter-created indie action platformer/RPG game appeals to you, I’d say go for it. It’s relatively inexpensive at its $9.99 price on Steam and, given the glut of indies out there, this one stands out to me due to its imaginative and adorable world that only a child’s mind could come up with. It’s short enough that you can run through it more than once if you’re an achievement hunter, but, for everyone else, one playthrough would suffice.
Review copy provided by the publisher
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