After planting his castle on what might have been the resident sacred patch of land, a knight is facing wave after wave of orcs keen to remove him from the local scenery in Ninja Kiwi's interesting defense/hack-and-slash twist Knight Elite.
Knights clearly should not be architects, not even defense-minded ones, because the first rule of a good fortress is not to give it more entrances than a mouse mansion made out of Swiss cheese. But unfortunately this knight is already past that point. Perhaps it is not his fault (maybe he inherited the place), but it is clearly now his problem and with angry barbarians beating down his homestead's six entrances, he's going to have his hands full. Good thing, then, that as any progressive monarch he has forgone the use of his serfs and instead bought a Soldier Of Fortune subscription to get a few mercenaries.
Move with [WASD] and attack with the left mouse button. Tapping [Q] or [E] will swap your ranged attack to your melee and vice-versa, while [ESC] or the [spacebar] pauses the game. Keep an eye on your surroundings, since enemies will attack not only you but your structures; if a barricade gets damaged, hurry over to it and hit [F] to repair. Have soldiers on call? Use [G] to order them to regroup.
Knight Elite is a barricade game, where you have to survive successive waves of monsters (fifty in total), bolstering your odds with better weapons, stronger fortifications and troops who fight with you. There is a touch of RPG stats that you can access as your knight levels up, opening up choices that can improve attacks, make units cheaper and so on. The aforementioned units are soldiers, archers, knights, wizards and a mean machine that looks like an aggrieved sawmill; these are trained as you upgrade your castle using loot gathered from fallen monsters and your own mine.
Got all that? Good, because the enemy is hammering on your six doors and it is time to defend yourself!
Analysis: In general, bringing so many different elements under one besieged roof is a risky gamble, and in many cases it does not pay off. By failing to keep it simple, gameplay can become convoluted and stuff stops being fun. But Knight Elite, bar a few quirks and missteps, pulls off its concoction pretty well.
The only character you can control is the knight, though you can call on your men to return to the center of the castle. As the lord of the manor, you stroll around fixing barricades, ordering improvements from the game menu and playing a starring role in slapping the barbaric orcs back to their "won't bathe twice a year" lack of civilization. You do this very well: being the man in charge you have access to weapon and skill upgrades that soon turns you into a cleaver of low-powered hordes and the only hope your men has against a surplus of lumbering trolls (especially the armored variety). Theoretically you could play the entire game purely going this route: hog all the upgrades and get all the weapons for yourself, building castle upgrades purely to access your entire arsenal. The hordes cannot actually destroy anything other than the barricades and the only way to lose is to die.
But no knight is an island, so you can train a few loyal soldiers to keep the bad guys entertained while you tour the barricades. Soldiers and archers are cheap and can be churned out like rabbits on Easter, knights are costlier but worth their weight in plate armor, wizards keep a distance and inflict a lot of ranged damage while Shredders do exactly what it says on the tin (but sadly looks nothing like a Foot Clan leader). You access these through building upgrades - the latter also provides better walls, magic potions and mine improvements.
Elite Knight is very ambitious for a Flash game, so it does bulge at the seams a bit. The engine's performance is choppy on some of the machines tried - you will probably need a reasonably strong machine and a browser so clear it can see the Spanish fleet. Simply put, the game engine can use some tweaking. Likewise your units are not particularly useful other than for keeping the monsters off your back. They do their share of killing, but there are no defensive moves or allocations. You simply take advantage of the fact that there is an armed mob in your courtyard.
All that said, Knight Elite is fun, and I am not a big fan of barricade-style games. The extra diversity that comes with the RPG and Building elements are very satisfying, not to mention the satisfaction of cleaving lowly orcs out of the way as if you were making space for a hedge. With some polish and tweaks this could be a real classic.