Switch version tested
Review code provided
Peasant Knight hits the Nintendo eShop this month and is the latest offering from the team over at 4AM Games. Thanks to some nifty porting work by publisher Ratalaika Games it can also be found on Steam, PlayStation 4, Vita and oddly enough it is also slated for a release on the Nintendo 3DS. It’s great to see support for the 3DS in 2019 but there is no date currently available, so fingers crossed.
You take charge of a fearless knight, who is also a peasant, but importantly a knight that is looking to become the most heroic hero that the world has ever gazed upon. Obviously, the best way to prove that is in the form of a fast-paced platformer game that has an endless runner style twist thrown on top for that little je ne sais quoi.
Over the course of 80 action-packed levels, you must guide our pint-sized hero from start to finish in one fell swoop without being hit otherwise its back to the beginning. As you progress new mechanics and offensive obstacles are introduced with one aim, to kill you as quickly as possible. The knight is programmed to automatically run from the get-go so you need to be focused on the road in front of you and think one step ahead of the action. As the player, you can halt the knight’s progress and jump. Timing and logical thinking are needed to work out simple puzzles as flaming jets burst from the ground, lifts shoot you into the air, buzzsaws spin and portals transport you to random platforms. Blink and you’ll be in a world of pain as you plummet to the ground. Each level is timed. This is indicated by a bar that fills in the top centre of the screen and if you take too long the screen dulls as a storm erupts leaving you susceptible to being hit by lightning, which naturally kills you…
The game has been designed to be a simple pick up and play affair and works well in short bursts, its perfect for gaming on the go and would be suited to mobiles. The disadvantage would be with the lack of physical buttons and that’s where the beauty of the Switch shines through. While the level count initially seems high some can be finished within a few seconds but as with any game design wanting to provide a challenge things soon get turned up to 11. It feels like playing Super Meat Boy or Celeste just here we don’t seem to have the same charm.
Visually Peasant Knight has opted for more economical route akin to its naming convention, gone are the need for 4K ultra-realistic visions of this medieval land replaced by the most simplistic retro pixel based treats. Yes, it’s not going to blow anyone away but it looks ok and runs smoothly.
The game itself feels little bare bones and would benefit immensely from some simple quality of life updates. Although each level is timed it would be nice to have the option of seeing exactly how long each run takes. This would build in the elements needed for speedrunners to compete against each other besides just using the video capture function to show off that perfect run. An online leaderboard wouldn’t go amiss too for this very reason. A simple stats page again would be expected from a game such as this, how many times did you die while trying to hit the end goal in world 5. All minor gripes that don’t detract from the gameplay overall but are missed when perceived as the norm.
Peasant Knight features a multiplayer option for split-screen fun and frolics for up to four players. Challenge each other in three different modes to be crowned champion – Journey, Race and Marathon. These offer an incentive to return once the main missions are conquered but best played in a docked setup because a quarter of the Switch screen is a tad on the small side.
Peasant Knight on the Nintendo Switch is just ok. It doesn’t offend but isn’t memorable enough. There is fun to be had and it gives a level of challenge that speedrunners will especially love but there is room for some simple quality of life additions that would make this a much more fun experience. It’s a budget title that won’t do any harm if you take the leap.
Beard Score: 6/10
Nintendo Switch Essentials:
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 22/03/2019
No. of Players: 1-4
Category: Action, Platformer
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Download link: eShop