Wednesday, July 16, 2014

First Impressions: Knytt

I decided to give Knytt a look.  Knytt is a freeware, open-world platforming game by a Swedish developer named Nifflas, creator of another atmospheric game: Night Sky.  Knytt is the first in a series, which I have just now cracked open.  

It was fun!  It was relaxing.  It was ambient.  Knytt is like an open world Super Meat Boy, but less refined.   Knytt is like Proteus, is like Starseed Pilgrim.  It also made Giant Bomb's 2009 list of 365 games to play before you die. 

I don't know how I got turned on to Knytt.  I think it was when I was researching 'Starseed Pilgrim.'  Some reviewer or another made a comparison to Knytt, and I think it was apt (even if I can't find the original article).  Knytt is similarly mysterious in its goals and intentions, and similarly relaxing in its aesthetic.  There's a gentleness to Knytt.

The gameplay in Knytt isn't actually mysterious.  That is to say, there is a tutorial.  There is a simple goal: 'collect these items.'  There's a story 'you were kidnapped by an alien, whose ship then crashed.'  But despite these things, there is a sense of wonder and uncertainty granted by the world you are navigating.  This is created by a really nice aesthetic visual and audio design, and also assisted by the ease with which you navigate the world.  By pure screen-count, this game is easily the largest 2d platformer I've ever played.  Screens fly by in a matter of seconds, obstacles are mostly easy to get around.  Different environments unfold before you as you progress.  

While the game is almost easy to the point of being boring, I didn't find it boring.  I found it soothing.  It was nice to see all the different environments, and amazing how many different variations there were.  The sounds and music were nice, varied, and unobtrusive. 

I talk alot about simplicity and minimalism in game design.  Knytt is a shining example of this.  I didn't get to the end, and eventually it may become boring, or worse: frustrating -- but that first hour was nothing but joyful.  

Definitely worth a look- don't forget:  it's free!


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