04th Feb2019

‘Rampage Knights’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

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The Switch has seen a fair few multiplayer side-scrolling brawlers over the last couple of years, some of which were ported across from the PC and the light usage of procedural generation used in such games as Streets of Red add a frisson of variety to the proceedings which make playthroughs slightly different each time. Rampage Knights continues this tradition but stands out from the pack with its large array of upgrades, familiars and weapons whilst also not taking itself too seriously. With random potions that curse the players with various illnesses that can be helpful, deadly or just downright funny and frantic screen-filling action, I’m also pleased to say that it holds up in single-player mode as well, which is not always the case in this genre.

Rampage Knights sets you in the role of an eager warrior (or warriors) working his (or their) way through several stages in a pretty non-existent narrative (which doesn’t matter here, the action takes precedent over story). Each dungeon run-through begins in the initial camp where you can alter your looks and choose unlocked buffs and characters to suit your playstyle before delving into the first stage, the woods. The procedural generation is used well here, each screen will have different enemies, all of which have different weaknesses and ways of attack, from shield-bearers to ranged enemies and hulked-up melee berserkers, this isn’t a game that you can button-bash your way through, even on the casual modes (the only real difference is that on the easiest mode, you begin at the start of the level that you perished on as opposed to the base camp) as different attacks are needed for specific situations. As you make your way through the stages, you’ll find money (which can be spent in stores along the way), treasure chests (which have a neat little mini-game to unlock) and myriad weapons, armour, potions and familiars (my favourite) which assist you by the way of giving you handy-helpers such as a little devil that randomly shoots fireballs at the enemy or a small Nosferatu-faced bat that flaps around gormlessly and gives you 1hp for each enemy downed (my absolute favourite).

Visually the game is 2.5D, but the graphic style makes it feel 2D, if that makes sense. Although you can move into the screen as in most games of this type, the clean visual style of the characters almost make it feel like they are cardboard cut-outs in a theatre, which I actually quite liked. The combat feels meaty, as you stamp on downed enemies and smash through a load of shields with a charged hammer-blow or fell a giant troll with a load of throwing-axes, I felt satisfied by the battle mechanics. Every item also has a handy use and it feel great to come across a new weapon and armour, knowing it might give you the edge you need.

As mentioned, I primarily played the game in single player mode (there is the choice of local co-op as well, natch) and I really enjoyed myself, which often doesn’t happen for me in this genre. I liked seeing what enemies and bosses would come next and what cool stuff I’d pick up, as well as flicking between different hats and characters for each run, it took the edge off the repletion that can dog such titles.

If you are a fan of dungeon crawlers or side-scrolling brawlers, I think you’ll find a lot to love in Rampage Knights, a few beers and some friends would be the absolute icing on the cake here, it doesn’t smash any boundaries in the genre but it’s an awesome way to spend a few ‘knights’, stamping on goblins, levelling up and hoping you don’t drink a concoction that turns you into an egg-laying chicken in the midst of combat, what more could you need?

Right, I’m off to take my topless barbarian, Ramirez for another run, I mean, who needs armour anyway? *gulp*

Rampage Knights is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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