In the first Knightfall, you saved the princess and lived happily ever after. But what exactly does happily ever after mean? Knightfall 2 from Megadev seeks to answer this question. It seems that happily ever after isn't so happy after all. You see, our princess turned blushing bride didn't realize that she was marrying a hero that would lounge about in his boxers all day drinking mead, the mass in his arms migrating ungracefully to his midsection. Oh no, if he wants his happily ever after to actually be happy, then he better get his iron clad butt back out there and get to heroing, or so help her, she's going to rearrange his armor with a very heavy wooden spoon.
Knightfall 2 is a match three style puzzle game with quite a few twists (at least one of them is literal) and some heavy RPG elements thrown in. You will find your character on a grid-like board surrounded by enemies and different colored blocks. You can't move your knight directly, but you can open up gaps by destroying groups of same-colored blocks. Click a group once to highlight it and a second time to destroy it. You can also rotate the board by either clicking on the arrows on either side of the board or by using the [right] and [left] arrow keys.
Your goal in any given level is to snag the key and make your way to the door. There are a host of monsters standing in your way, but you can handily dispatch them by falling on them from above. When you do this, your knight thrusts downward with his hand drill and eradicates the foe. Beware, for the monsters you face can fight back and hit you from a wide variety of locations on the board. Don't let yourself get too caught up fighting monsters, though, for you've only a limited number of moves, or Action Points. Once those are gone, your hero takes damage every time you destroy a group of blocks.
While its basic gameplay is similar to Knightfall, there are a number of improvements in Knightfall 2. It's bigger, for one thing, and now gives you a map that you can travel around, allowing you to choose which dungeons you conquer first. With the bigger map there are more enemies, including several new bosses, each with their own unique properties. A well-stocked fairy store and mana-based spells flesh out the RPG qualities of the game. And finally, groups of blocks smaller than three can now be destroyed, though at a greater AP Cost.
Analysis: This is how you make a sequel. The first Knightfall was an innovative game that caught our attention and easily won our respect. Knightfall 2 manages to capture the same magic, while adding a slew of improvements that speak directly to the feedback received from the first.
The real story with Knightfall 2 is how the Megadev team took a good thing and made it so much better. From the opening movie to the first time you see the game map you realize that this is so much bigger than Knightfall. There's just so much more of everything that made the first Knightfall such a success.
This outing is gorgeous, fun, and addictive. The graphics have taken a few steps forward but still have a respectable retro feel about them, and the music direction is wonderful (I'm particularly entranced by the haunting tune from the snowy areas). Meanwhile, the match-three variation remains familiar enough to draw in puzzle fans, while fresh enough to broaden its appeal. Indeed, I've always felt that the draw of Knightfall's gameplay has been its open-ended quality. The ability to manipulate the board in so many ways lets the player adopt a number of different strategies. This allows the personal capabilities of the players to inject their own freshness into a well established genre.
The RPG elements of Knightfall 2 are more pronounced, though it must be said that there could still stand to be a little more (we still would like to see multiple character classes and a little more control over statistics). The fairy store helps, by allowing you to buy more items that give you control over your character's abilities and growth. But perhaps more substantial is the spell system. There are scrolls to be had this time around, but many spells are now based on mana collection which is directly connected to the number of slain enemies and broken blocks in combat.
Another major improvement that I think really gives Knightfall 2 a lot of its character is the addition of several different bosses scattered throughout the game. These area guardians really show off the creativity of the Megadev team, and their ability to cast broad experiments while at the same time remaining true to the game's core mechanics.
You may get seduced by the new enemies and the pretty new settings, but don't get so wrapped up that you don't notice the small things as well. Achievements are now explained (a common criticism we remember from the first Knightfall). The game now includes a comprehensive in-game tutorial as opposed to an external YouTube video. You now have the ability to knock out single blocks or doubles at a higher AP cost. This little adjustment gives you more options to get yourself out of a tight spot, but forces you to weigh costs vs. benefits before doing so.
The dedication to story telling here is also a welcome addition. From the humorous opening sequence to eavesdropping in the local pub, Knightfall 2 does a good job of patching together the story of this world through anecdotes. It's like watching a quilt get sewn together in such a way that perhaps there is not an exact beginning, middle, and end, but instead a meandering history that is held together by a common thread. At times it's whimsical, and at times it isn't. You can play the game without paying much attention to the various characters you meet, but doing so adds a sense of depth that strengthens the whole package.
An enamored reviewer could keep going, but what's the point? In the end, Knightfall 2 is everything Knightfall was only more of it and then some. At this point I'm just keeping you from experiencing it yourself.