The USS Quad Damage

Knytt review

I review a small game about a small creature hopping about in a small-ish world

So I’m playing through a bunch of Indie games, and I’ve decided to review a few of them. The first such game is Knytt, a game which can best be described as an exploration platformer, or “tourist platformer” game.

You control Knytt, which I assume is the titular character, around a world collecting items. You walk around with left and right, “save” at assigned save points by pressing down, and can wall-climb by pressing up on a wall. You can also jump (and wall-jump), and there’s also a key to find the direction of your nearest objective. That’s it. You can push things, but you literally do that once in the game.

You’ll encounter some enemies on the way, but there aren’t many of these. There are many creatures, but most of these are not hostile (in fact, you can’t interact with them at all). The game mostly revolves around some puzzle platforming. You just have to figure out how to get “there” from “here”.

In itself, that doesn’t sound ludically iteresting, but on the one hand, the puzzles are actually fairly interesting, and on the other, the game is cute as a button. Unlike many other low-res games, this game doesn’t offer the option of double or triple pixel zoom (where one pixel is represented in a 2x2 or 3x3 pixels to make it physically larger on the screen). The effect is that the world appears as a tiny window on your screen, with the main character being a dimuitive mouse-thing. You walk around and various creatures, some much larger than you, some much smaller, walk around doing their thing. These can look like little insects which can fly around or people who are fishing or sitting around doing nothing.

That may be a bit of a spoiler. A huge part of what draws you into the game is discovering just how charming it is. Being told that may cause it lose the effect. I’ll try not to ruin specific instances of these creatures, but let’s just say that on the one hand the critters don’t do anything interesting, but on the other they tell some pretty neat stories; a kind of “who's that girl, why is she sitting there? Does she like that boy?”. Walking through the world feels at once strange yet familiar. You’re encouraged to explore simply through the idea that there’s critters here, and they’re not hostile. While you can die in the game, there’s no point you don’t feel “safe” due to your expressive surroundings and the critters. The beautiful ambience and music goes along with the views and really pulls you into the little world.

Ultimately, the puzzle-platforming is quite easy (though not trivial), and it’s all just an excuse to explore the vistas and the lives of these adorable little critters. At about an hour or so length, the game doesn’t overstay its welcome and exudes charm and moments you’ll remember for a while.