Knytt Undeground is a puzzle platformer developed by Nifflas and published by Ripstone. The game focuses on exploration in “Metroidvania” style maps.
Players take on the role of Mi, a silent protagonist who loves to go spelunking and exploring. The game doesn’t have much of a storyline, only that you are tasked with ringing the bells of fate to prevent the destruction of the world. But besides that main plot point, nothing else is really mentioned or delved upon. You will encounter NPCs throughout your adventure and they’ll assign you quests and talk a little about certain people or aspects of the world. The story is very vague and it’s one of Knytt Underground’s weakest points.
Developed by Nifflas/ Published by Ripstone
Available on Mac, PC, PS3 and PS Vita. Reviewed on the PS Vita.
When the game starts, you are thrown into a map without any kind of hint or information on where to go and what you need to do. It’s basically telling you “Go! Explore the land!”
The game is divided into three chapters, and all of them play out exactly the same. You’ll get to explore and venture across portions of the map, meets NPCs, receive and complete tasks, NPC, and then rinse and repeat as new paths are opened.
There isn’t much to the gameplay here as it’s mostly composed of Mi running, jumping and grabbing hold of vertical surfaces, which allows you to wall jump. Wall jumping is somewhat problematic, as it’s easy to use but can sometimes get annoying, due to Mi sticking to any wall if you jump or run towards it. There’s also occasions where Mi will jump off a wall unintentionally, leading to a sudden death.
Each room you run through features a small puzzle, be it either a platforming segment with dangerous pitfalls and obstacles, avoiding enemies in a area, or activating switches. On occasions, you’ll find that some rooms aren’t solvable, so you’ll need to keep exploring to find new paths that might lead you to the very same room but offer alternative paths.
Players are also aided by some magic orbs that allow Mi to dash from left to right or upwards, double jump, or fly in any direction. These actions are cancelled, however, if you run into a wall or the floor.
The game loves to backtrack, as you will often be exploring or running through the same rooms over and over again. This causes the game to become dull and tedious quite fast, especially when players are on a quest and unfortunately overlook an important item. Items in this game are so small that they are easily missed, and this adds to the frustration.
Kyntt Underground has an aesthetic similar to Limbo, as most of the game is shrouded in darkness. The backgrounds are really colorful and nice to look at, though, as they feature grass, leaves, fruits, peppers and trees. What I didn’t like was the character art as I found that the designs were lacking, due to them all looking the same and like they were done in a hurry. In comparison to the backgrounds, they are really disappointing.
There really isn’t a lot of music in this game. There are a few songs that make an appearance in certain areas of the game, but it’s nothing really memorable as you will be hearing the same tracks over and over again with all the backtracking going on.
Kyntt Underground can be a lot of fun on some occasions, but most of the time it gets dull and boring with all the backtracking and fetch quests. I did enjoy the backgrounds and ambiance of the game, but everything else was lacking. The auto wall-grab mechanic didn’t help either. But if you’re looking for a Metroidvania-styled platformer, this would be the game for you. I’d only recommend it to the die-hard platformer fans out there, as there’s some fun and challenge to be had, but to the general public I say look elsewhere for a fun platform experience.