Knights and Bikes

The Kickstarter video for Foam Sword’s game Knights and Bikes starts off with the usual crowdfunding flare; two devs on a couch discuss their game with some video game plushies behind them for indie cred (is that a Binding of Isaac baby?) Soon though, after a bit of a stilted introduction, the video starts to fast forward and replay on some weirder moments of their spiel. One second they’re making silly bike noises and the next they’re explaining how their game is an RPG. 30 seconds in and we’re treated to the real spectacle of the campaign, the game itself.

Developers Rex Crowle (Tearaway and LittleBigPlanet) and Moo Yu (Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and LittleBigPlanet) have obviously spent a lot of time preparing for their Kickstarter. They avoid the biggest crowdfunding sin and let the product speak for itself. The first thing that jumps out is the incredible art style that Foam Sword has implemented. It’s got a sense of whimsy that’s comparable to Doublefine’s most charming work (think Costume Quest) but with enough personality to make it unique. It’s hard not to fall in love with the designs of the obligatory animal mascot, aka Captain Honkers, or the hopping blue head, aka The Pickled Knight.

In the game you play as two children who have accidentally unleashed ghosts into the tourist trap that is the island of Penfurzy. They must fight off the spirits and find out the ancient secrets of the land as the two are mysteriously connected. If the story of young children fighting off possessed animals with everyday items like frisbees seems familiar to you it’s because one of the main inspirations for Knights and Bikes was Earthbound. If that isn’t enough to get you excited, the guys at Foam Sword cite Secret of Mana as another inspiration, that is most likely for their battle system.

Following in the encouraging footsteps of Broken Age and Life is Strange, Knights and Bikes stars two young girls, the video game obsessed Demelza, and her friend the outsider Nessa. Aside from battling ancient spirits and exploring Penfurzy, the heroines will find themselves traversing the island in fully customizable bikes searching for treasure to collect and adults to rescue. And since there are two heroines here, two players can play locally in a manner similar to Secret of Mana.

With almost half their £100,000 goal made in under a week, Foam Sword are offering up the usual incentives to attract potential supporters. But every plush doll, art book and t-shirt is going to be made by the dev team and their friends which is a cool little tidbit. The release date for the game is April 2017 but as with all Kickstarter projects, this is an estimate and should not be taken as fact.

knights and bikes 2
Those creepy, creepy eyes.

If you want to contribute to Knights and Bikes you’ve got until March 3, 4pm EST. As always it’s best to be cautious with any crowdfunded campaigns but the JRPG influences, whimsical art and honed gameplay make this a hard project not to keep your eyes on.

Leif Conti-Groome
Leif Conti-Groome is a writer/playwright/video game journalist whose work has appeared on websites such as NextGen Player, Video Game Geek and DriveinTales. His poem Ritual won the 2015 Broadside Contest organized by the Bear Review. While he grew up playing titles such as Final Fantasy VI and Super Double Dragon, he doesn’t really have a preference for genre these days except for Country; that’s a game genre right? Leif’s attention has been more focused on the burgeoning communities of niche Japanese titles, eSports and speedruns. He currently resides in Toronto, Canada and makes a living as a copywriter.