You know those sword fights you see in the movies – all grim seriousness and devastatingly precise swipes and lunges? Knight Brawl isn’t anything like them. If anything, it makes Monty Python look sober.
You see, in Knight Brawl, reality takes a nap. So does realistic physics. And that’s because this game is by Colin Lane (Rowdy Wrestling; Dunkers), who’s apparently of the opinion the ground should be replaced by massive trampolines.
Here, knights bound around like they’re on the moon, somersaulting through the air and whirling their weapons, barely in control. This is coupled with an animation style that’s more 1970s children’s telly than Pixar. And it’s superb.
Knight of the long knives
You start off kitted out with a barrel for armour, and a saucepan for a helmet. Before you can say “are you having a laugh?”, you’re fighting for your life.
A couple of prods on a direction button makes you lunge forwards. If your sword’s pointing the right way, you may obliterate your opponent’s armour, and go in for the kill. If not, they’ll get all stabby on you, and you’ll have to try again.
There are buttons for jumping and swinging your weapon like a lunatic, too. At first, when in the thick of it, you’ll probably just mash them all. But there is nuance lurking behind the absurdity. You may never feel entirely in control, but with extended play comes a kind of mastery.
Brawl of the wild
Previous Colin Lane efforts of this ilk have been great fun, but a touch one-note. Knight Brawl, though, approaches its subject matter in suitably epic fashion.
There are ‘career’ bouts against increasingly tough opponents, and crazed multi-knight skirmishes. Head to the map and you can partake in some platform-game frolics, attacking a castle and stealing bling. As you grab cash from looting – or chests that appear during bouts – you can upgrade your armour and weapons, finally replacing that saucepan with a proper helmet.
There’s the odd niggle, notably that it’s a bit too easy in big skirmishes to sit back and watch almost everyone get killed off before you tackle a lone survivor. Still, you might argue that’s just smart tactics. Regardless, this doesn’t detract from the simple fact Knight Brawl is a rollicking good game – and a decidedly unique brawler.