Save the Kingdom!
Knights & Guns is a title that at first glance shouldn’t work. It exists in the very mixed bag that is known as Baltoro Games. Before Knights & Guns came along, their catalogue consisted of card games and games that could very easily be mobile ports. Needless to say, this title had its work cut out for it.
Using the Power Against the Power
With a juxtaposition of words such as knight and guns, you would be safe to assume we’re not in for an Oscar Award-winning period piece, with ultra-realistic characters and set pieces. What you are in for, my friend, is a story about “The Power”. The Power has been stolen by a vile captain that is using it to take over, and open portals that release monsters of devious intent, determined to desecrate the land. He has killed all the kingdom’s soldiers that would not join him. All that is left is you (and a co-op buddy if you choose).
It is your job as the knight in question to locate and draw power from those portals. That power comes in the form of totally era-appropriate firearms of various sizes and strengths. You are given a meagre hand pistol at the beginning of each level or you can buy a stronger weapon to start with. That weapon won’t last too long either way, because chances are you will be showered with power-ups and new guns to use. You also get a power move that damages groups of nearby enemies all at the same time, this is charged up as you defeat enemies. There is also a dash button that allows you to move quickly across the screen and shoulder block enemies up into the air. You can jump too, but that has no offensive ability.
The tile-based map is laid out in a non-linear fashion. You don’t have to beat every stage, but you may want to, because you are able to see what collectables (such as chests, keys, and scrolls) and you will know that you are missing something. And the more stages you beat, the more possibilities you will have to make your way around to the end of the map, not to mention bragging rights.
Did I mention that you can only shoot upward?
So here you are, shooting up at all the various kinds of monsters. Some are easy targets, some take a lot of hits, some break into smaller monsters instead of dying and you have to shoot those. You have to meet the stage requirement and then you are off to the next stage… or to grind over old ones to earn currency to spend at the shop on armour, power-ups, or music.
And let us talk about the music. The music is everything. It starts simple enough at the beginning, with music that seems to be ripped straight from the minstrel show at your local Renaissance Festival. A few stages in, it quickly progresses to much more appropriate melodies in the vein of metal and pop-punk. Everything about the game becomes better at this point.
There are over 150 stages of fun to be had and more than 30 gun styles (including grenade launchers and lasers). Counting bosses and mini-bosses there are 30 types of enemies for blasting. There is a lot going on in this little game to keep you coming back, even if it’s just to spend a few rounds here and there when you have a few minutes to kill.
So it is a concept that could have easily been snatched from the hungover dreams of the guy at the Renaissance Festival in the faded metal t-shirt that was somehow in every mead line you passed and somehow it still works. For some reason in this world, you can only shoot up… Somehow it works. The whole thing is entirely improbable, and makes no sense, and I loved every minute of it.
Review code provided
Release Date: 10/09/2021
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Action, Arcade, Adventure
Developer: Baltoro Games
Publisher: Baltoro Games
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop