Average User Score: 6.8Jan 7, 2013Having played through both Within A Deep Forest and Knytt/Knytt Stories and other Nifflas games, Knytt Underground was a game I've beenHaving played through both Within A Deep Forest and Knytt/Knytt Stories and other Nifflas games, Knytt Underground was a game I've been waiting for for a long time. The three original games, to which Underground is a continuation, were extraordinarily atmospheric games with very minimalistic plot, graphics, music and (in a way) gameplay. Yet the simplicity of all the constituent parts combined into magically immersive experiences. Knytt series had a more open and exploratory gameplay, while WADF also had some inventive puzzles and Metroid-like progression system. Both series also had expansive and open worlds to explore.
Knytt Underground attempts to combine the two series. You play as a sprite, with gameplay similar to Knytt, but you can transform your character into a ball at any moment, which turns the gameplay into WADF. Many puzzles are built around shifting between the two forms at the right moment. The ball also has a sort of energy lasso thing, which allows it to swing off some special objects. The game has three formal chapters with some extra levels (interludes, demo, etc)
Now, in terms of gameplay and atmosphere, it's the same good old Knytt, only with more focus on progression and less freedom. You will quite often encounter closed doors which will require you to solve a puzzle or complete a fetch quest (which are, by the way, consciously criticised both by the main characters and the quest-providing NPCs as being boring and unnecessary). The quests aren't boring though, as they involve lots of interesting exploration and puzzle solving. The controls feel sharp and the switches between the sprite and ball form are seamless and immensely satisfying.
A big change to the formula is the plot. Unlike the previous Nifflas games, Underground has a lot of dialogue, and the premise itself is quite detailed in comparison to Knytt/Knytt Stories. There are lots of NPCs which will give you quests or information. The dialogue can be really goofy at times, like when one of the main characters starts swearing like a drunk stevedore and acts like a typical edgy teenager IN ALL CAPS. The plot examines themes of religion, ambition, faith, technology, metafiction and all sorts of other things. It even tries to be philosophical at times. In all, the addition of a detailed story put me off at first, as it seemed to brake the atmosphere, but then it got more interesting and engaging.
The graphics are gorgeous. The style is borrowed from Saira, one of Nifflas previous games. It incorporates phototextures with vector graphics and pretty nice particle FX. The colors are vivid and there's a lot of that fine detail and movement for which Nifflas is famous. The characters look pretty cheap though, like they were taken from some facebook or iPhone flash game. Seriously. Also, sometimes its way too dark. But overall, the graphics are great, especially considering the amount of unique content that was created pretty much by hand.
The world map is HUGE. It's the kind of game that you won't be able to finish in one evening. And, considering all the secrets and extra contents, alternative paths and hidden rooms, you'll spend quite a lot of time finding all that. It doesn't get old though. You'll want to come back for more and more.
Overall, I enjoyed Knytt Underground a lot. The addition of an RPG-like storytelling is a bit controversial, but it works fairly good. And the atmosphere is as immersive as ever.… Expand