Knuckleheads


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Rating: 4.5/5 (113 votes)
| Comments (58) | Views (29)

PsychotronicKnuckleheadsKnuckleheads is the latest pixel-licious platforming fiesta from Nitrome, the creators of Dirk Valentine, Cheese Dreams, and 9,372 (roughly) other colorful Flash adventures. This time, you guide a pair of grimacing heads wearing Mexican wrestling masks as they bash their way through 25 levels of bats, spikes, and deadly lava. Why are they so angry? Maybe it's because their only method of locomotion involves constant trauma to the skull. Why are they wearing Mexican wrestling masks? I ...don't know.

The Knuckleheads are tethered together by a unbending chain, so controlling them is a bit like steering a giant dumb-bell. Hold [right] to rotate clockwise and [left] to go counter-clockwise. One of the heads will grip the earth, allowing you to pivot the other through the air; they travel end over end, taking big, clubbing steps across the ground and plowing along sticky walls and ceilings. You can extend the chain linking them together by pressing [up] or retract it with [down], in order to bridge gaps or step between spikes. The [WASD] keys serve the same purpose as the arrow keys.

Combat involves bashing enemies with either the green Knucklehead or the purple one. Conveniently, almost every character in the game comes outfitted in purple and green as well, so you know which head they need to be pummeled with. The south-of-the-border visual style extends to the creatures, but not to the industrial factory setting, which makes me wonder if the concept for Knuckleheads was fueled by a short but intense experience with tequila.

Analysis: I've never played anything quite like Knuckleheads. Obstacles that would be trivial for an agile hero like Mario are mind-warping when you have to steer an awkward pair of stomping galoots through them. But that doesn't stop Nitrome from throwing scads of Mario-esque traps at you—rotating fire sticks, rising lava and all. If in the past you've complained about Nitrome launching their games' difficulty into the stratosphere after the first 8 levels, then welcome to another nightmare. But if you're in the market for unusual skill-based challenges, then pull up a chair. The combination of quirky physics and unforgiving pitfalls will keep you entertained for a while.

Where this game really lets me down is in the destruction department. You'd think that a pair of POed bowling balls would get to smash up the environment a little, but besides crushing a handful of glass bonus capsules for points, our heroes feel surprisingly light and vulnerable. Because every enemy in the game is poisonous to at least one Knucklehead, you never get to just wantonly rampage through dozens of puny challengers. Instead, this is a game of precision—one tense, precarious situation after another. Fun, yes, but it feels antithetical to the premise. If I have a heavy, powerful protagonist, then I darn well want to feel heavy and powerful, even if it takes an army of helpless cannon fodder to make the point.

Play Knuckleheads

You can also play the game at the MTV Arcade.

58 Comments

I especially liked the games name. It seems appropiate to release a game called Knuckleheads during a political race :-)

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Superslash Author Profile Page May 20, 2008 2:56 PM

It's a nice game and and has a solid premise with good stable gameplay but like a lot of nitromes offerings it seems like they went just far enough to make "a game" and decided it was enough instead of going that extra bit to make "a good game" and eliminating a lot of the leaps (or whatevers) of Faith, framerate issues, and the fairly often occuring "which head is in control now?!" funnies which lead to suiciding.

I like nitromes games, its just that it always feels like they settles for it being good enough instead of really good.

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I saw this game linked in their 'top games' section, but it wasn't listed anywhere else on the site. And now it's not even in the top games list. It's like a hidden game!

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Phoenix May 20, 2008 4:07 PM

I love this game. It's just like Nitrome - unique, interesting, enjoyable, and too damn hard. Aside from that, it's an excellent game that I'm going to be addicted to until they release Skywire 2.

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I love Nitrome, especially their arrow key based platformers. I'm like this one, specifically the different control style, but man the difficulty just leaps at level.

Unfortunately I know I'm going to be playing this until, cause i do that with every nitrome game.

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Ooh, like this one :)

Psychotronic, I know what you mean about destroying stuff and all that.
Perhaps, in a few year's time, Nitrome will make a bigger and smashier sequel! Yeah!

(however, it doesn't seem the Nitrome way. Toxic is as far as they are going to get to destroying the environment I think)

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nitromer Author Profile Page May 20, 2008 6:03 PM

I've only played Level 1 so far but it seems fun! A very original idea (from what I've seen, at least) and great music =D

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Your link to Dirk Valentine is missing the .php part, Psychotronic. That means a nice juicy 404 to anyone who clicks on it.
Other than that, nice review.


[Edit: Thanks. Fixed. -Jay]

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This game looks good, it will fill the time until Skywire 2 is with us.

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I'm stuck on level 8 - any help?

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level 8, you can go directly upward from platform to platform without using the intended sticky walls. Press down to shrink the chain.

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Yay! Another Nitrome game! And it's good!

I like most of their games, but this is one of the better ones. Recently some of their games have been a bit... well, not good (yes, Go Go UFO, I'm looking at you!) but this is an excellent return to form.

It'll definitely fill the gap till Skywire 2. But I still wish they'd hurry up and release it '~'

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Yikes. You were right. Level 8 is hard.

I get really far up the wall, only to fall all the way back down again!

@Superslash: If you still find it difficult to see which one is in control, an easy way to tell is this; the one you're in control of has a wider mouth. That's how I tell. Hope that might have helped.

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I am stuck on Level 8 as well! I feel like I am almost at the top (I am not sure that I am though!) and I plummet right down to the bottom into the spikes!

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Xylozex May 21, 2008 12:26 PM

This game isn't too hard. I hope Skywire 2 comes out soon!

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Anonymous May 21, 2008 10:09 PM

I can't figure out how to get up on level 16. Any ideas?

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molkman May 22, 2008 6:39 AM

The game is actually really nice, but I think it lacks some "force", if you know what I mean. Like, the screen should shake when hitting the ground or that thing at the end of the levels.

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Which part of level 16 is causing the problem?

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Level 17 is sooo hard!!!!I cant do it. At the very end every time I stretch as far as i can, I always die cus im no long enough and that s at the very end. I ALWAYS GET MAD AT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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nitromer Author Profile Page May 22, 2008 5:27 PM

It took me a really long time to beat levels 8, 16, 17, and 18, but I finally did it...

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The screen only shakes at the end when you get a x 5 molkman. You have to be as long as possible to hit it really hard.

Work for your screen shakes!

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Xylozex May 23, 2008 5:53 PM

I won the game!

Monster fall at the end and their chain is broken.

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Anonymousnoob May 24, 2008 8:15 AM

Uhh can anyone help me on level 24?

Can't outrun the lava :o

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nitromer Author Profile Page May 24, 2008 5:19 PM

I'm on level 24 too, it's very hard...

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Anonymous May 25, 2008 6:20 PM

I also need help with 24....but I suspect it just takes practice. xD

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I am really stuck on Level 18!

I hate those things rising or lowering levels (also like the Hot Air 2 Level, Drill Bill?)

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Anonymousnoob May 26, 2008 1:13 PM

Eventually I did beat 24 after all, it just takes a lot of practise + patience.

Try to clear the first bit as fast as u can, when you get past the double row of circles it's pretty straight onwards from there, the lava hasn't got much chance to get u after that

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Chaowzee May 26, 2008 1:59 PM

A good tactic is to stretch out really long when there are long horizontal stretches. It speeds up the heads and makes them travel further (just watch that the other head isn't banging against the ceiling or edge, otherwise you won't be able to move...). Also, try to avoid the bonuses (the stars in the containers). They just slow you down. I just managed to pass level 24 now using this technique. It took me ages to figure out, though...

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this game reminded me of
Twin Spin

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Anonymous May 26, 2008 4:08 PM

Could anyone tell me how much further there is to go after you finish the rows of circles?

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nitromer Author Profile Page May 26, 2008 5:45 PM

I beat level 24 as well, but now I'm stuck on the last level...

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I'm stuck on level 15.Any advice?
It's a bit frustrating but I think it's really unique and I'm probably going to be addicted to this game until I finish it!!!

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nitromer Author Profile Page June 1, 2008 5:30 PM

@indigo: What part of level 15 are you stuck on?

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nitromer:
I'm stuck on the part where you have to climb the long wall(where there are alot of bats).

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i'm reallly enjoying knuckleheads! I think it is interesting how you get more point at the end of a level when the chain is longer. Anyway, im stuck on level 20. cant figure out how to get to the purple one! Please help. Level 20.

Thanks!

Cara

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I'm stuck on level 23. I can get past the beginning part, but then it get really difficult near the

gates

Help please?!

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I too am stuck on level 23 at the gates!! Someone please help!! Thank you!

Signed,
I don't want to reveal my name!

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HEY!!!! Ignore my last posting. I just beat the game!

The levels 24 and 25 were way too easy!!

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I've got a problem here. I've got Windows Vista Home Basic, and an AMD Turion64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-56. I'm on level 24 right now. At the start, my chain grows when I'm not pressing up. Anyone who has the same processor and OS as me, please post.

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Visitor June 22, 2008 4:40 AM

Oh, and, it doesn't shrink when I press the down button either.

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brightangel July 5, 2008 8:49 PM

wow. i've spent FOREVER on level 23 and looks like it'll be the same for 24. but i love this game too much to not finish it.

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Visitor July 9, 2008 12:06 PM

Please!!! Some-one here must have the same problem.

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i cannot get past 6! i get lost and I don't know where to go . . . Help please!

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Visitor July 14, 2008 1:41 PM

Help on Level 24!

Can't outrun the lava :-(

And, the answer to my problem with the chain growing but not shrinking is:

I was using IE8 then. I'm using Opera now.

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Visitor July 15, 2008 5:16 AM

Never mind. Finished! :-)

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Visitor July 16, 2008 4:45 AM

I've won the game!

Monster fall at the end and their chain is broken. Freedom at last!

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Anonymous July 18, 2008 3:11 PM

cant beat level 23, cant anyone help me?

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help me i cant do level 21 its so hard (if you have completed this please dont laugh @ me)

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Visitor July 22, 2008 2:23 PM

help:
Yeah Level 21 is hard, and I'm not going to laugh at you, even though I've completed it.

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i done lv 21 now but now i cant do lv22 anyone know how to?

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help:
Yeah, Level 22 is a little tedious too. Can you give me an idea on where you're stuck and I might be able to help. Sorry if I don't reply straight away as I don't visit this forum very often.

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Oh, sorry, here's the correct name link:

http://www.armorgames.com/play/751/shift

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im starting to hate that lava :/

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Please help with level 17!
It's too hard!

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please help with lvl 9

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funlerz June 5, 2009 6:14 PM

I was playing this, and relized something, I dont think any game Nitrome has made doesnt have something that causes instant death (at least from the games i've played) like the lava on knuckleheads, hot air you only have one try before you have to start over (which is why I didnt play long) the acid in toxic, and if it isnt something like lava or acid, its falling to your death

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nitromefanatic July 8, 2009 9:18 AM

for level 8:

destroy EVERY enemy on the way up the wall. as pointless as this seems, there is a large chance that you will fall back down the wall and be hurt by the monsters. you don't get hurt just from falling, so if you fall, you will be okay. other than that, this is a very easy level and good luck!!!

~nitromefanatic~

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I can't get past the very beginning of level 23, PLEASE HELP ME!! :'(

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