Friday, December 16, 2011

The Friday Review – Muffin Knight (iPhone, Android)

Do you know the Muffin Knight?
 -review by Mike

When I first saw a brief plug for Muffin Knight (Android game) I thought, “That looks like some light-hearted arcade fun with my kinda humor.” And I was delighted to find that I was absolutely right. Bright color pallet, comedic fantasy characters, platformer game mechanics, and lots of unlockables; mix them all together and you get a killer recipe for awesomeness... mostly.
Here's the breakdown:

The Goods:
  • +5 Visuals of Stunningness - the game has really fun graphics; a color pallet that sings; and a good amount of visual polish; all beautifully executed without totally bogging down my phone's hardware (Galaxy S).
  • +4 Game Mechanics of Cleverness - at its core Muffin Knight is a platformer and, as such, automatically gets a +1 right off the bat in my book. It also happens to be a GOOD platformer with tight controls. The best part was the various character abilities. Every time you gather a prized muffin you randomly switch characters. Each character has a unique attack style, so you have to constantly change your strategy based on what character you happen to be playing.
  • +2 Strategies of Power - the game does a great job of using the interplay of level design and character abilities to create interesting strategies. Each character has a strength - kill lots of guys with the archer; utilize long platforms with the pumkin king; lay a crap load (literally) of traps all over as a safety net with the unicorn, etc. Good stuff.
  • Unlockables of Ultimate Collectability - I love games with unlockables/collectibles. I think it's almost always a good idea to work this mechanic into games when possible. In Muffin Knight, the more you play the more characters you unlock. You also unlock more levels for scoring highly. On top of all of that you can also level up each character multiple times with XP that you earn by playing. The game really maximized the replayability, and it worked.

The Lames:
  • When I downloaded the full version of the game, for some reason it wiped out all the progress I had made in the trial. LAME. I had achieved some serious progress in the trial and it all went down the crapper when I downloaded the full version.
  • On-screen-controllers are never my favorite thing, and in this game, as in many others, it was easy to botch them. Overall it’s not horrible, but there were many times that I missed the button I was going for, or accidentally pushed the wrong one, simply because a screen doesn't work very well as a controller. The player needs tactile feedback to be completely successful with a controller - something that phones just don't provide. That said this game was a lot better than some.
  • The game provided a lot of really good content in the trial version. Too much in my opinion. After I spent the 3 bucks and bought the full version I found myself wondering why. It's true that you can only play on the first 3 levels in the trial mode, but those are my favorite levels anyway. I don't know if there's a cap on the number of characters you can unlock in the trial, but I never ran into it - you can unlock a ton! And the full version advertised "boss battles", which ended up very disappointing. The "boss" in the lava level just hangs out in the background. You never fight him directly! Boo.

I really love this game. Super fun mechanics, good level design, and tons of unlockables that are as tasty as the muffins you collect. I might recommend that people stick with the trial though. Most of what I love about the game can be found there without spending the 3 bucks. Though if you want multiplayer the full version would probably be worth it. I never tried multiplayer though, so I'm not sure if it works well. Peace out!

No comments: