There are few action platformers that gauge my interest in a smartphone simply because of the lack of explorative options available compared to console or PC games. Apple Knight has somewhat questioned this belief as it is a remarkable action platformer that proves to be entertaining, simple, and yet challenging in the right ways to keep the player engaged. A classic inspiration from timeless platformers combined with today’s technology results in people now being able to play a game full of depth on their smartphones.
The gameplay begins off with the player being asked to choose a male or a female character and then proceeding onto the tutorial which shows the fundamental controls and mechanics of the game such as activating a campfire for checkpoints or how to slash away at enemies with your weapon. Contrary to popular belief, it is not easy to put in many unique specific controls on a mobile game simply because of the limited screen space. Limitless (Developer) did a good job of implementing the controls as this game has many of them, ranging from movement, sideways dash, attack, etc. The basic jest of the platformer is to reach the end of the level on each stage to proceed onto the next one, with each one being more challenging and complex than the previous.
Difficulty levels do exist to fine-tune the challenge for the casuals as well as the try-hards going from casual-hard-ultra hard, with ultra-hard having only 1 life/death available. During the levels, players will find coins, emeralds, and other sorts of gems and valuables which can be used to purchase equipment to better equip the character for future encounters. Upgrades are important as the monsters in the game scale too, expecting you to upgrade along the way to keep up with their scaled HP.
Every time a player comes into contact with an enemy, they lose a Hearth (life point), which is basically an instant death on the ultra-hard difficulty and can prove to be quite challenging and frustrating at the same time, giving this game a good replayable value.
With the game having many Worlds which in turn are divided into many levels, Apple Knight offers a substantial amount of content for free, with more planned in the future as the game is still fresh in its patch and update cycle. This does mean that there is a long-term potential depending upon the type of player you are. However, besides the story/main progression, the game does not offer much once all the levels have been beaten and thus there is a true limit.
Graphics and Audio:
Graphics are done heavily on the pixelated cartoon theme with a deliberate focus on keeping a retro theme in line with the 80s or even 90s platformers. The pixels look sharp and deliberate enough where the graphics suit the gameplay style and do not serve as a distraction due to being a limiting factor. Animations of the swords swinging, attacks, and killing enemies with your attacks all feel fluid and smooth as well, with no hiccups, while looking fantastic.
The sound package is good in this game and has some decent OST to complement the game. The main limitation here is the quantity of it as it soon becomes recycled as you progress into the game, and makes you wish if there were more soundtracks available on the game. This does not take away too much, however, as the game plays out fantastic mechanically and graphically, giving a bearable pass to the recycled soundtrack.
Apple Knight uses some classic ways of monetizing the game by way of allowing a free revive or coins or Hearths by watching an advertisement of other companies. This is prevalent in the industry when it comes to F2P games on the market, along with the option to buy cosmetics and other aesthetics like skins and weapon overrides. Paid skins do give extra buffs but personally, I do not see the need to spend money on this game due to everything being available for free while having fun enjoying the game. Sure, paid skins do get extra buffs, but the free ones are fun as well and not too limited in their functionality to continue unhindered gameplay.
Pros and Cons
- Fundamentally Simple Yet ChallengingClean Clutter-Free Control Scheme
- Engaging and Fun Gameplay
- Deliberate Pixelated Graphics Look Amazing
- No MTX Hindrance to Progress
- Could do with more weapons and abilities
- The soundtrack can get repetitive
Limitless did a really good job in getting the order of priorities right and executing them near flawlessly where it is needed the most, with the emphasis being placed on the game mechanics and the control scheme being fluid and buttery smooth to offer the platformer feel. It does not have the content or the diversification yet on its weapon or armor bases to compete with the best action platformers out there, but that does not put it off as a bad game. In fact, with updates and a little bit less MTX dependency this game could be the next big thing for the coming years when it comes to action platformers as it already has a robust foundation and just needs some tweaks and quirks changed in the way interactions and character-building works in the game. I’d recommend everyone to give this game at least a try as it does fulfill the one requirement that people try to derive from games: enjoyment.