After a week-long hiatus, we’re back to the daily grind. Today we’re taking a look at Gryphon Knight Epic, a “2D Medieval Shmup that mixes elements from classic shoot’em ups, exploration and duel-like boss battles”. We’re admittedly a bit late to the party on covering this one, as their Kickstarter campaign has already been funded and has less than 24 hours to go. Regardless, Cyber Rhino Studios also has a Steam Greenlight campaign going that aims to bring the completed game to the masses.
We had some time to sit down with an early build of Gryphon Knight Epic earlier this week, even at this stage of development, the game shows a lot of promise. Players take up the role of Sir Oliver, a knight armed with a crossbow who rides atop a mythical beast. Additional playable characters are planned as Kickstarter stretch goals or DLC later on, but at currently players are stuck with good ol’ Sir Oliver and his giant bird.
Gryphon Knight Epic feels like a mixture of R-Type and MegaMan in a medieval setting. Despite being in 2D, Gryphon Knight Epic doesn’t feel constrained by its environment. Players will need to utilize every inch of available screen space, as the danger comes from literally all directions. I constantly found myself moving around to avoid attacks, sometimes even needing to reverse directions to take out a particularly nasty enemy. Rather than simply moving forward, I eventually made it far enough in the level to then have to dig down underground and begin fighting enemies from underneath. After a bit more fighting, I managed to emerge out the other side of a mountain and into the reach of a boss fight in the form of a particularly mean treant.
It’s this sense of controlled exploration that I found to be particularly enjoyable. The environment and my direction of progress kept me guessing, which is everything you’d want in this type of game. Mean fish would jump from the water, spiders hung from trees, and giant plants would emerge from the ground in hopes of enjoying a quick bite to eat. Carefully executing attacks and movements was crucial to my survival. For example, I couldn’t just go straight at the giant plant and score an easy kill. Dispatching of this particular enemy required that I time my attacks to be able to land a shot, otherwise the plant would shrivel up and evade me. In another area, dinosaur-like creatures would throw spears at me while hiding behind cover. This left me the choice of either destroying their cover first, or flying over them and reversing direction to land shots from behind. The flying aspect isn’t just a gimmick, it actually ties very nicely into the overall environment.
As players progress through the game, they’ll acquire upgrades in the form of new weapons, squires that fly along with you, and artifacts that grant new abilities such as dash. Defeating a boss actually gives you access to their particular weapon, a feature many players will fondly recall from the MegaMan series. Taking one look at the various boss encounters below, players will likely have a selection of powerful and interesting weapons.
At the end of the day, this isn’t just a completely linear old-fashioned game. Instead, Gryphon Knight Epic mixes a whimsical medieval setting with concepts both new and old. The result is a game that was challenging and enjoyable for all ages.
If you’d like to support Gryphon Knight Epic’s Kickstarter campaign, there’s still a bit of time left to do so. If you happen to miss out on that, you can always thumbs-up their Steam Greenlight campaign. The game’s release date has not yet been announced, but you can keep up with the latest developments at http://www.cyberrhinostudios.com/.