For a seven year old console that the industry has declared dead, the PS Vita isn’t doing too badly. New games are being released weekly and almost 100 games have been released in the EU territory alone in the last year. That may not seem like a lot compared to other modern formats but how many of us can genuinely say that we are going to buy that many games in a year? One publisher that has stood by the Vita in the last year is Ratalaika Games. They have stood by the Vita tirelessly in that time, specialising in porting a variety of games from other indie developers including TETRAs Escape that we reviewed recently. Now, it’s the turn of their latest release, Peasant Knight…
What Is Peasant Knight?
Stripped down to basics, it’s a 2D puzzle platform game with 8-bit aesthetics. Story wise, you take on the role of the downtrodden, weaponless protagonist who is on a quest to rid the land of an evil wizard. Unlike traditional platform games where you move throughout the levels collecting objects for points, avoiding all manner of creatures or obstacles as you head towards the goal at the end of each stage while having pretty much full control of your character, Peasant Knight takes a very different approach. Your character is moving continually and you have just two controls at your command – jump and stop.
You need lighting reactions and precision timings to be able to get around each level and traverse all of the obstacles in your path to reach the portal at the end of each of the game’s 80 levels. To help you along the way, there are lifts, transporter portals and other devices to aid your movement. But you have to be cautious of other creatures, traps, and other hazards that lie in wait. If that wasn’t bad enough you’re up against the clock on every level so there’s no time to wait around!
Run, Jump And Run Some More
The gameplay mechanics for Peasant Knight are incredibly simple and that’s what makes the game so compelling. With just two buttons for the game it makes it very easy to pick up and play. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy to master though. While the early stages are straightforward platform levels, puzzle elements are introduced later on. As such you’ll soon be thankful for the unlimited lives at your disposal. Lose a life and the level restarts ready for you to try over and over again. This is probably even more critical when you encounter the bosses that appear throughout the game.
This simplicity is what really keeps the game fun and addictive. Throughout play you don’t have to focus on how to control the game. All you have to do is focus on working out how to solve the puzzles, navigating the platforms and just enjoying the game, making it a delight to play. In that sense it was quite reminiscent of a lot of endless runners and does explain why many are so popular, stripping games back to the bare essentials of what makes them fun and addictive.
As I mentioned at the start, Peasant Knight has an 8-bit look to it. It seems as if most indie developers these days try to go for 8-bit and 16-bit styled visuals and sound for their games. This is no exception and it is very reminiscent of games seen in the 80s but with a modern soundtrack. I have to admit that while I used to get quite excited about retro visuals in games, now I’m somewhat apathetic towards them. While simplistic pixel graphics can work extremely well, I don’t really feel that it adds anything to a game and in the case of some can detract from it. In the case of Peasant Knight it just left me feeling a little indifferent to it.
Normally I don’t mention trophies when I take a look at PS Vita games. To be honest it’s one aspect of PlayStation gaming that doesn’t really bother me. Peasant Knight is a trophy hunter’s dream though. There are 17 trophies in total including an all-important platinum. They’re relatively easy to get and you’ll have about 90% completed within your first hour of play and the remainder shouldn’t take too much longer. In fact, the full trophy set can be achieved without completing the game so it’s a cheap way for anyone to boost your trophy set.
Peasant Knight isn’t the largest game to land on the PS Vita. It’s a fun distraction for a while and it’s a novel twist on the puzzle platform genre, but it is short-lived. With only 80 levels it’s a game that you’ll complete within a couple of days of casual play and then find yourself unlikely to return to. I mentioned the trophies earlier for a reason. Usually these can be something to add replay value but in this case they’re all obtained during regular play so you can’t amass new trophies on replaying the game. So essentially once you’ve finished the game you’re done with it.
Because of that, once you’ve played through Peasant Knight once, you’re unlikely to load it up again. It’s a fun and mildly challenging game that will keep you coming back for one more go until you have it beaten and it’s a steal at the price.
At A Glance:
- Title: Peasant Knight
- Publisher: Ratalaika Games
- Developer: 4AM Games
- Format: PSN Download
- Memory Card Space Required: 31Mb
- Cross Buy: Yes (PS4)
- PlayStation TV Compatible: TBC
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I’m an animal lover and vegetarian.
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