A unique spin on the arcade genre
Ever play an arcade-style app and find yourself getting “in the zone”? The best mechanics have a way of pulling you in – all that matters is getting that next high-score or mission complete. Gameplay feels like second nature, and you slowly regress into a hypnosis-like state as you continue to drain hours of your life away. It’s like you can’t st …
Oh, hello there. Sorry, needed to take another Knights of the Round Cable break. And chances are very likely that you’ll soon have to do the same.
The concept, like the best arcade-style games, is extremely simple: you control a surprisingly rubbery knight that has the ability to bounce off surfaces like a basketball. By holding a tap on the right side of your screen, you’ll instantly connect to one of several pegs via a grappling hook and rotate around it. Holding the left side of the screen allows you to reverse your direction, and by swinging from peg to peg you’ll collect hoards of treasure, save every princess in the land, and explode thieving chickens.
Knights of the Round Cable is the perfect example of a game that is very easy to understand, but difficult to master. Learning how to correctly latch on to each anchor point in order to travel the correct gem trajectory is one such example. Early in, you’ll be lucky to complete a few sets. Give it a day or two of practice, and you’ll rarely miss collecting full sets in one go.
There are a variety of ways to judge your own performance outside of the traditional high-score. Gameplay is broken up by periodic levels, much like arcade classics Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. Sometimes, reaching the farthest stage can feel like a bigger accomplishment than getting the best score. And if that isn’t enough for you, the game’s mission system provides plenty of incentive to complete tasks outside of your usual repertoire, such as playing strictly to not get hit, or completing games without changing your direction of rotation.
Whichever way you do decide to award yourself, you’ll be dealt out stacks of coins in order to spend on the shop. Knights of the Round Cable has the perfect curve of awarding coins – as you continue to get better scores, you earn better gear at a constant rate, thus increasing your score all over again.
Aside from the usual upgrades, such as coin magnets and “last chance” items, there are a wide variety of knights to purchase as well. Instead of being simple palette swaps, each knight has a unique ability that might make it better suited for a specific mission. Do you want to take more hits before death? What if you got a rocket boost each time you swung off a peg? What if you didn’t lose momentum when changing directions? There are a ton of options, and investing in a new character always feels rewarding.
And to top it all off, Knights of the Round Cable is a very pretty game, too. The hand-drawn animations provide small-but-satisfying touches; such as the way your grizzled knight’s beard blows in the wind. Layered backgrounds shift as you fly to the left and right, and everything around you is filled with color. Visuals aren’t the first thing I look for in an arcade-style game, but when they’re there, it’s icing on the cake.
The only real thing I can knock the game for is that gameplay can eventually hit a plateau. Missions become very difficult about halfway through, either forcing you to get very good, or causing you to grind through games in order to pay the “skip mission” button. Granted, the gameplay is still fun enough to warrant long and short play sessions without getting tired, but it’s still hard not to want constant progression throughout the full adventure.
Knights of the Round Cable is a charming game with a unique mechanic, and it’s well worth your time and money. Just be warned: if you get it, you might start questioning where all of your free time has gone.