My trusty steed gallops through the misty forest, dodging between trees and leaping over rickety fencepost without missing a beat. The horse, who I named Fred, follows a bend in the pathway and suddenly a river is roaring across my path. Effortlessly, Fred soars over the river and lands safely on the other side. Just ahead, I hear an ominous fanfare. A dark rider appears through the mist, charging straight at me. With only seconds to react I align Fred up with my new opponent. I lower my lance and at the last minute nudge Fred just a bit more to the left so my lance hits the rider perfectly square in the chest. With a clang, the rider flies off of his horse, his body taken over by the game’s ragdoll physics.
For a moment I celebrate and watch the ragdoll get tangled in Fred’s hooves as we gallop on…and then I look up to see a tree the second before we wrecked into it.
Last Knight by Toco Games is a fun little game that will strain your focus and test your skill as a keyboard knight. By the end of a run-through you will be left breathless and your brain buzzing as it slows back down to reality.
Last Knight features a story mode that tells the tale of a knight’s quest to defeat a dragon and restore peace in the kingdom. Players won’t find anything deep or meaningful in Last Knight’s story, but that’s fine since the gameplay is the main attraction. The story itself is told through strangely animated windows that look like paintings, but are actually glimpses into the game’s world. To get through the pre-level banter, players have to click through these windows, —which is a clunky experience to say the least and rather deterred me from paying attention to the shallow story any more than I had to.
The story campaign is relatively short, and anyone with experience with endless runner games will have no trouble adjusting to the game’s control setup. The very last portion of the campaign involves the knight battling a dragon. Because the knight is constantly on the move, the “battle” is mostly just the knight trying to catch up to the backpedaling dragon to get close enough for a poke with the lance. The dragon battle was frustratingly difficult because it utilizes mechanics that the game only features specifically for this final fight. There was no lead up, no way to practice the maneuvers necessary to kill the dragon in advance. I eventually defeated the dragon, but that whole final segment felt very out of place in comparison with the pretty casual pace of the game leading up to that point.
Once the campaign is completed (took me about an hour and a half to get through) what I consider to be the core experience of Last Knight, unlocks. The true endless mode becomes available, and players are then able to see just how long they can last through the ever-evolving landscape. The endless mode recycles the settings seen throughout the campaign so players will be already familiar with what obstacles to look out for.
To be fair, the endless mode may unlock before the campaign is completed, but because the campaign is so short, I was able to get through it in one sitting so I did not notice it unlocking on the main menu beforehand.
There are many unlockables that can be purchased with the points collected from participating in the challenge modes. Some unlocks include avatar upgrades that change the appearance of the player’s knight, lance, and horse, while others are ability unlocks, such as a unicorn horn that summons magical rainbow bridges to help navigate through the challenging areas. So if you’ve ever wanted to dash across a river on a rainbow bridge, Last Knight is the game for you.
While the game has it’s questionable design choices, specifically in the story campaign, Last Knight shines during everything else. Whether you’re an endless runner veteran, or a casual player looking for an inexpensive weekend distraction, Last Knight should be considered.
Last Knight is available on Desura for $5.99.
[review pros=”colorful visuals, fun ragdoll physics, easy to pickup and play, plenty of replayability” cons=”plot as generic as they come, dialogue scenes are very stiff, that damn dragon” score=82]
Last Knight was reviewed using a retail build sent to IGM from Toco Games.