GAME NAME: Knytt Underground
DEVELOPER(S): Nifflas’ Games
PLATFORM(S): Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): December 19th, 2013
There sure hasn’t been a lack of indie games being released for the eShop that have an old school nostalgic feel to them. A few titles such as Giana Sisters or Cloudberry Kingdom have done an excellent job of incorporating old school into a new formula that make them work. Nifflas’ Games latest Kyntt Underground for the Wii U eShop has the feel of a Metroidvania title with a heavy dose of exploration but not the fighting. But is this nostalgic feeling make the game good or is it just another attempt to rekindle magic?
Knytt Underground starts you off as a mute character named Mi who is in search of the fairy fountain. On the way, you will have to complete tasks for villagers in order to open gates to progress. Mi gets powers from glowing orbs temporarily which allow her to shoot straight up or move around freely for a few moments. Most of the gameplay for Mi is based off of old school platforming, such as making jumps, climbing walls, or avoiding enemies. The game has tongue-in-cheek humor with even the game designer popping up periodically adding to the comedy. Once you reach the foul-mouthed fairies you will be ready to venture to chapter 2.
Chapter 2 is were the game gets even weirder. You play as a ball, and the characters don’t hold back on telling you that it is weird that you are a ball. The controls are awkward here, but what do you expect you’re a ball. The first 2 chapters are really a tutorial for Chapter 3 which is by far the meat and potatoes of the game. In Chapter 3 you can switch back and forth between the ball and Mi with the tap of the R button. The main purpose is to stop the Apocalypse by ringing 6 bells. The gameplay is the same as the first two chapters where you will have to complete tasks to progress to the bells.
Graphically the game has nice environments with great color contrasts. It uses dark colors for areas that it wants you to walk on and in the background has huge foliage in areas which makes it remind me of Pikmin. The lighting and shading all look great on the big screen or the gamepad. I would recommend using the gamepad as your map system though, as it makes getting lost not an issue. The soundtrack is moody and fits the game perfectly. There is nothing that is memorable but it doesn’t do too much or too little.
I would highly recommend this game to any fans of old school platforming and exploration. Broken down into 3 chapters the game is just long enough that you feel fulfilled by the end but not overly long where you get bored with it. I love that fact that there is no hand holding and you have free reign to go wherever you want as long as it isn’t blocked off by a gate. Both Nifflas’ Games titles that I have played now, NightSky and Knytt Underground have both impressed me and I can’t wait to see what this up and coming develop has in store for their next title.