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Knights And Bikes

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 11 - 2019

I wanna ride my bike.

 
Having grown up in a seaside town that has, frankly, seen better days, Foam Sword’s action adventure game had an instant appeal for me. There is something about resort towns that, once the sun goes away for another season, hold the promise of adventure to any child with imagination. And a bike. Bikes are important as they offer the promise of freedom. Of course, those adventures are never better than when with a friend, which happens to be exactly the same for Knights and Bikes.

 
And it doesn’t hurt that the opening song will get stuck in you head forever.

 
I wanna ride my bike.

 


 
Set within the fictional Cornish island of Penfurzy in the 1980s, Knights and Bikes follows the sometimes real, sometimes imagined adventures of Demelza and Nessa as they find themselves on the hunt for the legendary island treasure. Yes, there is more than a little inspiration from the movie The Goonies, and the game is all the better for it. The story has a lot more to it than simply two children searching for treasure, with not only the legend of the treasure itself playing a part, but also the backstories of the two girls. Each girl has their own struggle and issues that they are dealing with, such as Demelza losing her mum and her dad facing the possibility of losing their home. She was also lonely on the island, at least until Nessa turns up at the beginning of the game. Nessa’s story is much more slow to reveal itself, but there is obviously something up as she arrives on the island as a stowaway on the ferry. The pair have a somewhat tumultuous beginning, but quickly become firm friends ready for the adventure ahead. As a story, Knights and Bikes is packed full of childish glee, but also manages to have some emotional resonance that really rounds the story out.

 
With two main leads, it is obvious that the game was designed to be a co-op experience, and playing the game with a friend really is the best way to experience it. However, there is still a lot of fun to have playing the game solo, as the player can easily swap between each character with the simple press of a button, giving them access to both girls’ abilities without having to rely too much on the AI, which admittedly is not too bad.

 
So each of the girls have their own ability, with Demelza wielding a hefty kick, while Nessa is a mean shot with a Frisbee. However, it doesn’t stop there and the girls will unlock new abilities as they progress through the game, mixing up the gameplay a little. The game makes good use of all the abilities and those playing alone will find themselves often having to switch between the two characters.

 


 
The island of Penfurzy is impressively large and has that whole out of season feeling, none more so than Demelza’s dad’s holiday park, which seems utterly downtrodden and at risk of being closed forever, which is a firm motivation to find that legendary treasure. This will of course lead to a lot of exploration, taking the girls all over the island.; Thankfully, the girls have bikes to move around more quickly on, much to their joy. The bikes are easy and fun to control, and being able to customise those bikes is cool, if pointless overall.

 
There is some light puzzling to be had along the way. It’s nothing too taxing and all fits in with the tone of the story. Much of the game is fantastical in nature, but how much is actually taking place in the girls’ imaginations and how much is real is left up to the player to decide. The same can be said of the enemies that the player will have to fight along the way. The combat is pretty much just a button bashing affair and makes up the majority of the gameplay. This is probably the weakest aspect of the game, which is a shame, but the story, exploration and the relationship between the two girls will be more than enough to keep most players pressing forward.

 
Visually, the game has an almost Tearaway style which is instantly appealing. There is plenty of colour, even though the island is often dark and gloomy, and there is a lot to look at. Despite being more simplistic in its visual style, there is enough detail to portray a range of emotions on the characters, further building on what becomes a really nice story.

 


 
Knights and Bikes could be a story about the innocence of youth, the struggles that children have to cope with, and retreating into an imagined fantasy world with a friend. Or it could just be a game about two girls hunting for treasure. Players will take from it what they will. But with great characters, a nice story, an interesting setting to explore, and bikes to ride, it would be difficult for anyone not to be entertained. Sure, the combat is a bit dull, but Knights and Bikes is a joyous adventure with oodles of charm. Check it out.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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