Dignity! Every royal would love to have it although a bit like many of our childhood celebrities – they’ve not keep it for long. Puddle Knights is a lovely puzzle game that explores the phrase that cleanliness is closest to Godliness. It is one of the games that becomes moreish and more fiendish the more you play and it made my brain a bit melty by the half way stage!
In Puddle Knights you play as several characters but mostly you’ll be a collection of multicoloured knights. These knights have long flowing capes that they drag around behind them which is very useful for covering over muddy puddles. This is very helpful for the member of royalty that needs to cross the level and get to the goal because they simply cannot have the indignity of being a ruddy bit muddy!
Each level will involve you moving between your knights and the royal member as you shuffle them around increasingly more complex levels. If the royal king or queen stands on your cape, you can’t move that knight anywhere until they are off it again. This often requires a lot of shuffling about to get everyone from A to B via C, D and E but it is part of the fun. it isn’t long before you have multiple knights with multiple capes. The trick here is that if a knight is standing on a cape, some of the capes can tear. You need to use this tactically and think like you are ripping a sheet of toilet paper and laying it down like a path. Where and when you tear and share will be critical – especially as knights can’t reverse – they can only go forward or turn left or right.
Each world adds a new mechanic to keep things fresh and moving forward. It isn’t long before stairs are introduced and you’ll be having knights using other peoples heads as a path to traverse between staircases so they can place their cape in the right puddle. The game asks you to complete around 10 levels per world of the basic levels to move on and although you need to complete them all, you often have a choice between two if one is driving you mad. When you complete a world, the expert tier of levels for that world (or game mechanic) are unlocked. This is where the expert puzzlers among you will be scratching your heads because some of these were beyond me. I have no shame admitting that I used a guide for a lot of them early on. The normal puzzles also had my head scratching many, many times but when each new world starts, it calms down again for a few levels. This is because it takes the time to introduce the new mechanic before rushing into crazy complexity again and I really appreciated that.
Graphically I really like the board game style figures that you play with, although I’d have liked a little more detail in the world you move around in. The music score is decent too. My only real negative of note is that the controls aren’t really optimised for playing with analogue sticks on a controller. Often I found it would double or triple my actual movements and my little knight would go around in a circle. You can quickly undo these moves with a button press or two but it happened often enough that I resorted to using the d-pad. Even then it occasionally would do the same thing.
That small annoyance put to one side, Puddle Knights is a great puzzle game. It’s lack of violence or abstraction is refreshing. Instead it goes for silly charm, dainty looks and over 100 great human designed puzzle solving. I’d take that over hundreds of procedural generation puzzles any day.
Dignity is most definitely preserved on this tricky puzzler!
Will melt your brain - especially on the optional expert levels.
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