Breaking into the video game industry is not easy. Whatever angle you approach it from you always seem to start from a position that has very little reward and almost no information on what to do in order to move forward. That in mind, I try not to come down too harshly on independent game creators because they’re trying. Truth be told I couldn’t make a game like Gryphon Knight Epic, I don’t have the skill required.
Gryphon Knight Epic from Cyber Rhino Studios in Brazil, is a 2D Medieval Shoot’em up that mixes elements from classical shoot’em ups, exploration and duel-like boss battles, it tells the story of Sir Oliver, an accomplished knight and Aquila, his loyal gryphon that are forced back to adventure once again.
Sir Oliver has already defeated a dragon, married a princess and saved the kingdom. But during his quest he will face adversaries he never imagined he would, because… in reality all of them were once friends. What happened? These heroes would never go rogue… and all at once? Something is rotten in the kingdom and its up to Oliver to discover what.
The main weapon in the game is a crossbow that fires magic bolts. There is a charge shot, and in the beginning of the game you have the option of either a shield, known as a squire, or a dragon that will fire with you. Your quest begins when you are sent by your wife to get groceries.
Just a bit of personal interjection here, your wife is a princess, you are a heralded Knight of the realm and an already established hero, and you live in a castle. Somehow though, you’re still going to get the groceries. Not a good thing, not a bad thing, just saying I’m a nobody living in a one bedroom apartment and I don’t even go get groceries. Then again I don’t have a mustacheod baby so who’s the real loser here?
The entire introduction was completely unnecessary. While backstory often adds depth to a story this one did not. Almost none of the information had anything to do with the game. The dialogue seemed to have been written by someone who writes English as a second language. If that’s true they do it very well, but still noticeably incorrect.
When trying to deal with the options menu I found that once you’ve opened it and then tried to back out, you can’t. There is a save and exit button but that doesn’t actually take you back it just gives you the option to open another options window overlaying the one you’re stuck on. The only solution I found was to exit the game. Lastly in at least one level I noticed the game had not been fully completed. A wall serving as background had a line missing from it so you could see the horizon behind it.
The dialogue was humorous in places but didn’t add any sort of depth or character to any of the characters. The graphics were by no means terrible but they didn’t stand out either. It felt and played like a particularly rushed flash game you’d find on your AOL browser. It didn’t feel standard to me, it felt more like this was a good enough sort of situation. The enemies also felt uninspired and actually sort of stereotypical.
As far as gameplay was concerned I actually didn’t find a huge difference between easy normal or hard mode. I saw noticeable differences in the respect that there were more enemies and there was a damage increase. The actual difficulty of it though stayed pretty mild. For a shoot ’em up this game actually handled really slow. I’m used to shmups along the lines of Darius so for me this was almost crawl level of slow. Lastly while redressing certain elements was clever it wasn’t new. For example the squire or dragon option is either a shield or a drone fighter. The same options you get in so many other 2d shooters. It felt a lot like they were just putting medieval costumes on a really old SCI fi shooter.
Gryphon Knight Epic has potential. It was a good idea and the dialogue isn’t horrible. Overall though the game just isn’t that good. It’s important to remember though that this is a first game produced by a new studio that’s just getting started and while I want to give a lot of leeway because of that.
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