Tag Archives: Knytt Underground

Five things make a post, and I quit thee from my thoughts

Knytt-Underground_Mushroom-Town

Well, it’s that time again. No, not filing your taxes, though that is coming up in a few months. Sneaky bastard, always creeping up on people like that. But I digress–it’s another roundup post so I can touch on a couple of things real fast without having to devote an entire post to each topic separately, especially since some are less than interesting to analyze. That might not seem like much to you, but for me, I can only string together words so many times in a week without my creativity and passion melting away, and this is the best solution I have.

All right, here we go. Five things.

No more Knytt

I tried. I really did. I probably put in around four to five hours for Knytt Underground‘s chapter three alone, which is, more or less, the main meat of the game, and I literally got nowhere. The point of the final third act is for Mi Sprocket to ring a number of bells–I think it’s five or six–to stop the apocalpyse from happening, and this time, the map is your ocean. You are no longer limited to where you can go, especially now that you also have the bouncy ball powers of Bob at your side. Except that’s not true at all. I constantly hit wall after wall, sometimes literally and other times in the form of locked doors or NPCs requesting specific items to let me pass. Look, I totally understand the point of a Metroidvania game, but for some reason, this one really irked me. It never felt rewarding, and I was never rewarded for anything I did. Quests fizzle out, and you can do a crazy series of bounces and magic power jumps only to pick up some description-less item for your hard work.

All of that said, dang. Dang, dang, dang. I really loved the look of the game, and getting to a new screen was a pure joy, until it just became one new frustrating roadblock after the other. According to the Trophies list, you can beat the game without ringing a single bell, but I’m sure that’s even more difficult than the mainline goal, and so my saved progress will remain underground for good, never to be seen again.

Gears of Insanity

I uninstalled Gears of War from my Xbox 360 this weekend. Before I did that, however, I completed its first act again on its most difficult of difficulty settings, the properly named Insanity difficulty. Usually, I never try the high-end difficulties, as the challenge always seems too brutal, too unfair, but I was curious what it’d be like and whether or not I could do it; turns out, I could, but at the cost of constantly reloading checkpoints, grumbling about useless AI-controlled comrades, and dying in flashes of uncontrolled chaos. Knowing what the remainder of the campaign looked like, I was not interested in finishing it a second time on a much more savage level. Oh well. At least now I made room for Sleeping Dogs and whatever else Gold members get for free this month.

The Fishiest Grind Yet

Some bugs and fish are simply better than others in the world of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and a lot of that determination depends on what season we’re in. For summer, you want to catch emperor butterflies and all kinds of palm tree-clinging beetles. For the fall, um…I don’t know. Mushrooms, I guess. And for the winter, you want to keep your eyes glued to large shadows in the river at night, because if you’re lucky you can snag a stringfish, which sells at Re-Tail for a whopping 15,000 Bells. In the mighty words of George Takei, “Oh my.” Or should that be OH MY GOSH?!

So yeah, I wouldn’t say I’ve been actively trying to grind out stringfish, but I do walk the river-line back and forth a few times each night before I let the Sandman take over. Still upgrading my house, planning to upgrade town hall, and Bells come and go, but will always be desired.

The Purpose of Art

This is the year that art and my unprofessional game journalism come together, as y’all can probably already see with the comics I’m doing for all my completed games in 2014. I also plan to re-tinker the look of Grinding Down from top to bottom, so expect some new pieces of art to pop up periodically over the next few weeks, as well as some other elements to disappear. Did anyone notice that I got rid of my large list of Achievements? No, didn’t think so. Anyways, I’m still trying to figure out what I want here art-wise, as well as working on other comic projects, but I eventually want this blog to really stand out as something unique, even more than just silly words on images as post headers.

Broken Age Breaks Out

Here’s something crazy: Double Fine’s Kickstarter-funded Broken Age releases today. Well, Part 1 (of 2), that is. Double well, only for backers, which Tara and I are, meaning we will get to play what I can only describe as a visually astounding old-school point-and-click adventure game. I’m excited to finally see the thing in playable, watchable form, as I’ve been following the documentary videos closely now for two years, seeing its creators struggling to produce something both small and grand, something beautiful and instantly recognizable. Hopefully all my adventure game playing will aid me in solving puzzles high up in the sky, as well as in space. You never know what Tim Schafer will throw at you next.

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The deep, beautiful dark of Knytt Underground

knytt underground early thoughts chpt 3

I couldn’t tell you when Knytt Underground got added to my long list of untouched PlayStation 3 games, but it did at some point. Thanks to PlayStation Plus, of course, a service that lets me download a high number of titles to collect digital dust until I randomly decide to play them or am inspired by an outside source to see what the deal is. This time around, I was inspired, greatly so, and we can look to Matt Mason’s posts over at Obtain Potion for the push, specifically Living Under a Rock and Let’s Find Another Deux Machina, as I really had no idea what Kyntt Underground was for the longest time. I figured it was some indie puzzle game, and it definitely is that–but so much more.

At its most basic form, Knytt Underground is about subterranean exploration. You play as a young woman called Mi Sprocket who is mysteriously mute, as well as, eventually, Bob, a magical bouncing ball. Naturally, the two characters play very differently from each other; you use Mi to climb up/down walls, and Bob can bounce around the room and reach previously unattainable areas, as well as tether himself to certain robots. For Bob, it’s all about physics, and sometimes that can be a bit tricky to master, especially when a single bounce can send you zooming across the screen, possibly to a new area, before you even have a moment to react. The game is split into three chapters and an interlude, with chapter one focusing on getting Mi to the fairy village and chapter two focusing on becoming Bob and learning what he can do. Chapter three seems to be the real meat of the game and is both awesome and intimidating.

See, it’s easy to get lost in Knytt Underground, both metaphorically and literally. There are a lot of rooms to explore, with a number of exits, and while some of them are simply dark, narrow corridors to run through, others are expansive openings, with high ceilings that any spelunker would love and, more times than not, something absolutely stunning to look at in the background. Take the purple forest, for instance. The first time I arrived there, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was underground, and yet here is this string of large trees, swaying in a reddish-purple haze, dancing with the cavern wind. It got a little Inception-like there, this other world in this other world, and I just stood there, unmoving, absorbing it all. Other backgrounds are just as gorgeous, with plant life literally glowing in the darkness, lava that looks devilishly hot, and mushrooms that look too beautiful to eat.

However, something about Knytt Underground has me greatly conflicted. Really, I’m just not sure how I feel about it. It’s a stunningly gorgeous game, rife with bright and vibrant flora, the kind of nature you’d expect to see examined in close detail on the newest BBC documentary about the planet Earth, all backed by a soft, ambient soundtrack of rushing waterfalls, dripping ceilings, and gentle breezes. Yet..it’s goofy. The characters are silly and look like someone’s first attempt at webcomic art in the early 2000s, and the things they say are inane, such as obscure discussions about the Internet. I’m namely talking about the two fairies that accompany Mi after you reach the village and speak for her during her muteness. Visually, it’s extremely jarring. Tonally, too, though I suspect something is trying to be said here. Also, most of the quests you take on are pointless, with Mi going to great lengths to find certain people or keys for locked doors only for it all not to matter; the person you were looking for already returned home, and the door magically opened by itself.

At this point, I’ve dabbled in chapter three for only a bit, but eventually felt overwhelmed, especially considering the size of the map is roughly ten times that of the previous chapters. I mean, I can see areas highlighted in red on the map as places of interest to go–most likely these are the bells that Mi needs to ring to stop the apocalypse–but getting there isn’t a simple hike. You have to now use both Mi and Bob the ball in combination to reach new pathways, and sometimes doing that can be a lot of trial and error. I’m sure I’ll pop back into this visually stunning underground realm soon enough, but I need a little breather in the meantime.