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  • Writer's pictureOle Gamer Joe

Knight vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur Review - Knight In Shining Armor?


Knight VS Giant Game Thumbnail

Knight vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur Review by Ole Gamer Joe

PC/XBOX/PS/SWITCH

10/5/23

Gambir Studio/PQube Games



I've had a fascination with knights since I was but a wee lad. Often my mother would catch me in various embarrassing scenarios where I would be draped in my "royal cape," aka a sheet, and swinging my imagined "sword" at the air. No, that's not what I was using as a sword prop ya sickos. But those days are gone, and I am now a broken 39-year-old man. All that said, I still carry a great deal of love for anything to do with medieval times, so it was with great delight that I took on this review of Knight VS Giant: The Broken Excalibur.


While I initially winced a bit at the thought of yet another roguelite game, to my surprise this delightful and whimsical romp is a very well-made product. Yes, the gameplay is a bit repetitive as most rogue games are, but thankfully, it features some nice refinements and original ideas to help keep things feeling fresh. Considering you're going to run through the same damn forest a zillion times, that's a good thing.


You'll take control of king Arthur, brought back to life through the magic of Merlin in hopes of defeating what remains of the Void Giant who has been shattered into pieces. Your fallen knights will aid you in your journey-- well, in spirit at least. You'll need to rely on the knights' powers, which will transfer into Excalibur's blade and help you on your quest for victory and vengeance. The game does feature a few cutscenes and plenty of dialogue that has a good amount of voice talent behind it. While not fully voiced, characters like Merlin are impressively brought to life, even if the game has a bit of a comical vibe to it, with intention of course. Most of the writing is pretty charming, and while a bit longwinded at times, I never found the story off-putting, rather, it was entertaining.


mossy giant boss
They aren't kidding when they say giant

Just as the story is solid and enjoyable enough, so too is the gameplay loop. You'll traverse areas such as forests and deserts playing as Arthur and hacking down enemies in your path with your sword and various magical abilities. The goal is simple: clear out rooms while collecting loot and perks to become more powerful and take down the boss of each area (a massive giant that won't go down easily). Combat is fluid, with a heavy reliance on dashing to avoid projectiles and attacks. areas are not massive, but large enough to where the game's fast travel system comes in very handy. This feature is well implemented and easily utilized at just about any time during your gameplay so long as a room has been cleared out. Fast travel also helps with backtracking should you find shops along your way, which you will, or healing fountains which can be used once per area to restore your health.


Touching statues after clearing areas will net you new perks and that's pretty much it for the combat. Get stronger, get farther, die a bunch, rinse and repeat. Should you meet your demise (and you shall, indeed) it's going to be back to the starting forest again. You may occasionally come across some distractions as you progress through the map such as the sorceress Morgana who will offer you a curse that can both help and burden you. Players will also encounter many characters who have become lost on their own journeys. This is where things get a bit more interesting as you can send them back to your hub town, which you'll invest earned gold into improving.


knights of the round table
Use the ghosts of fallen knights to power your blade

This hub area will also be where you can select between different abilities from your fallen knights. This means you'll have a few different options when it comes to combat styles that you can mess around with. You can equip one weapon and one skill at a time, and your busted Excalibur will take on that weapons form. Weapons have different attack speeds and damage outputs, so you'll need to choose wisely. You don't have a ton of options to start with, but after several hours of grinding away, you'll eventually unlock more and more and watch your town prosper. Improving your town will unlock even more options like hunts that can earn you gold, and a library full of information. I'm not usually the town builder guy, but I enjoyed watching things flourish in this game, and it did add a bit of incentive to trudge through run after run. All told the combat in Knight VS Giant is snappy and simple yet effective, and the town building is equally simplistic but enjoyable and rewarding.


As far as visuals are concerned, Knight Vs Giant has a lovely cartoon aesthetic that is very rich and colorful. Sure, it could use more environments, but enemy designs like spikey little cactuses are adorable, and the massive giants you'll need to topple are quite large and scale and impressive behemoths to behold. My only complaint here would be that sometimes the art made it difficult to tell where exactly an enemy attack would land. This was more of an issue with bosses, where you do get a damage indicator, but it often felt inaccurate and led to cheap hits. Regardless, the visual presentation is very lovely.


menu with various upgrades
The town building is simple but fun

Sound design is also pleasant with orchestrated pieces full of hand drums, flutes and strings that match the visuals and setting. Arthur will let out satisfying grunts and slashes, and as was mentioned the voice acting is surprisingly well done. Factoring everything, Knight VS Giant looks and sounds impressive. The presentation is made even better by excellent optimization. My game was blazing over 400fps, so it seems almost any potato will be able to run it. Load times were almost nonexistent, and I didn't come across any major glitches either.


Knight VS Giant: The Broken Excalibur is a delightful little roguelite with a fun town building element thrown in for good measure. It plays nicely, looks and sounds great, and sure, is a bit repetitive, but you likely knew that going in. At least in this case, each run attempts to feel a little different from the last. A few more areas would have been appreciated to add some variety to the backdrops, and some of the hit detection felt a little off, but all in all this is a fine roguelite to add to your collection worthy of King Arthur's name.


PROS

+ Great visuals

+ Nice sound design and voice acting

+ Combat and town building are fun


CONS

- Hit detection can be a bit off

- Could use more areas to explore

- Gets repetitive



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