へっぽこ騎士

(Tinker Knight)

Sorry, All explanation and conversation in this game are written in Japanese. This is a story of a boy who had got to get back a princess kidnapped in the course of things. You can get a weapon or enchantment at every stage you cleared. Go with your three weapons and three enchantments! Please read this web page for how to play. http://www.winglay.com/heppokokisi/english.html

Rescue a princess in Tinker Knight, a platforming adventure from Japanese developer Winglay Entertainment. As the developer warns in the descriptive text, all of the dialogue in the game is in Japanese, but Winglay does offer a brief starter guide in English to get clueless players off and running. Listed under its actual Japanese title へっぽこ騎士, while Tinker Knight may initially be offputting to Western audiences due to the language barrier, the game itself is charming and enjoyable, patterning itself to a genre which fits like a glove is any language. A look at the provided translated manual or a couple of minutes of fiddling around with the controls are all which is needed to go forth on what must be videogaming's 10,000th princess rescue quest.

Tinker Knight is straight forward adventure in which the player must travel from left-to-right while killing stuff as video games try to teach us so well. The knight treks through five levels of action, each broken up into sections, before facing off against a boss. This is rote stuff here, and while the game keeps the level and enemy design varied enough to make things enjoyable, there's no surprises to be found here. The variety of weapons and enchantments available to the player are a nice touch which help keep combat interesting, and the bosses do require unique tactics to defeat them, although all but the last boss should pose a challenge to most players taking up the adventure. The first level's boss, a giant mushroom creature, recalls Monster World III's Myconid, but the remaining line-up of end level baddies take their queue from the cute editions of famous fantasy fiction. Although most of the bosses go down easily thanks to a healthy life meter on the normal difficulty setting, the final stage's boss gauntlet -- a second run through the previously defeated bosses popular back in the day but not so much now -- might catch some players off guard. Tinker Knight sports unlimited tries from any of the game's many checkpoints, and players will likely look to take advantage of them for the game's final challenges. Under normal difficulty (first option on the title screen), Tinker Knight is a rather simple game, but those looking for a real challenge throughout can torture themselves on the hard mode (third option) and play where one hit kills, just like old times.

Tinker Knight reminds me something similar to Chiki Chiki Boys or any of that sort of linear, short quest games born in arcades of a simpler time in which players needed little more than a couple of buttons to do their killing and save their princesses. Tinker Knight does use the right trigger for running and an additional button for cycling of the player's inventory, but that's as complex as the game gets. Weapons are doled out one per stage completion, but easy mode (middle option on the title screen) players get all six at once. The knight starts with a sword but will soon gather a spear and an axe, filling out his magic on the second half of his quest where he picks up fire, ice, and healing spells. All weapons and spells have their use; the level design and boss fights will see to that. I do wish rotating among the items weren't so clunky -- the knight must stand still to sort through the list of weapons and magic, which can be more difficult than it needs to be during the boss fights. The knight also has an odd way of jumping which takes some getting used to; the longer the jump button is held, the higher he jumps -- same as most any platformer -- but a simple tap barely lifts him up. It makes the platforming less intuitive than one would expect from a game such as this when it forces players to constantly judge leap distance, even for pathetic knee-high blocks in the knight's path. Thankfully, running and jumping clears a great distance and height, and players will find it best to leave their right finger on the trigger until the credits roll to make the odd jump mechanics and platformer bearable.

Tinker Knight is very cute with some nice, simple artwork but poor animation. It's essentially a Flash game but one made less off-putting thanks to the adorable artwork and variety of enemies and levels. Tinker Knight is full of chunky lines and sparse detail and coloring, making it even simpler looking than Jump with Colobockle, another cute Flash platformer out of Japan. Charm goes a long ways in overlooking the weak aesthetics, and large, flat monstrosities such as the giant worm at the end of the second level are so goofy looking that I can't help but look past its weird bobbing motions and just smile. Though I cannot comprehend the dialogue bits between each level, the character design and expressions keep it entertaining to the ignorant players, or at least it did for me. I do wish I knew what was going on in that ending, because while I can laugh at the closing scenes, I don't have a clue what was going on there. As always, non-Japanese speakers will miss out on the story, but the game remains enjoyable on its own sans plot.

Tinker Knight is a fun little adventure platformer, and it's worth a look. I'm not sure if most players will find the mid-range price point worth such a basic looking and playing title, but I enjoyed it and found the game of a suitable length. It is short and beatable in about half an hour, but viewed as an arcade title from yesterday and factoring the amount of quarters I'd have to pour into the cabinet to beat the thing, Tinker Knight feels about right and worth recommending.

★★★☆☆
September 20, 2010
September 13, 2010 | 240 points
Developer | Video | Download

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