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Under the Radar: Grapple Knight –
(Grapnel) Hooked in to my Heart
MegaMan is a pivotal franchise in gaming history, having fostered a dedication to challenging platforming and steady upgrading alongside Metroid and Castlevania. Perhaps, though, it was too pivotal because it seems things are swinging on that pivot right back to where it all started. Every game and its mother (someone get to work on a Cooking Mama-inspired platformer; “Jumping Mama”?) harkens back to that golden age of platforming nowadays. By all rights, I should be angry and fatigued but I just can’t manage it because many of those games are barrels of fun. Enter: Grapple Knight; aka, the biggest barrel of beautiful pixel perfection that I’ve seen in recent months.
[Play this while reading the rest of the piece for maximum feeling]
Grapple Knight is “a fast paced 2d platformer that is currently in development for Windows, Mac, and Linux” by the Sydney, Australia-based studio, Red Knight Games. You will control a character named Jouren as he jumps, slashes, and grapples his way throughout the land. He’s looking to defeat the enigmatically generic “Alchemist” with the help of spirit powers gained from Stroud, a rather dead-looking chap that accompanies and mentors Jouren, and Stroud’s fellow, deceased knights.
Grapple Knight’s demo, while certainly not feature-complete, is a testament to Red Knight’s dedication to pursuing a true homage to 16-bit gaming. The best part is that the game still looks amazing, the proportions are correct and the feel is nearly identical but the actual sprites and backgrounds are about as close to immaculate as I’ve ever seen. Then we get to the soundtrack, of which there are several samples on the Kickstarter page. Red Knight has resurrected some chiptunes from the Elysian Fields of retro music and hopefully you’ve been listening to one of them during this article. If you never listen to music again, I cannot believe you’d be sorry the last thing you heard was a piece from Grapple Knight’s soundtrack.
Red Knight Games has a gem on its hands with Grapple Knight and I can’t wait for them to fully polish it. Due to be released an as-yet, undisclosed date in the coming year, I can only hope that the wait is not too long. Because, although absence makes the heart grow fonder, I don’t think my pixel art-loving, chiptune-cherishing heart could take too long an absence.
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