Gryphon knight epic


Обзор Gryphon Knight Epic PS4

Королевство Валиантскайс было тихим и мирным местом, но однажды на него напал настоящий дракон! Он начал стирать с лица земли замки и деревни, сжигая всё и убивая людей. Король не мог оставить это просто так, а потому он созвал 7 величайших героев с разных земель, для того чтобы они сразили мифическое чудище. Их предводителем стал сэр Оливер - рыцарь на грифоне из Валиантскайс. Отважная партия за пару дней нашла логово дракона и напала на чудище. Сражение длилось несколько часов, и каждый показал свою храбрость и силу, однако именно сэр Оливер нанёс последний удар крылатому огнедышащему врагу. Наш герой спас принцессу, и король в благодарность за службу выдал её замуж за благородного рыцаря. Другие герои получили особое оружие из логова дракона, а Оливер взял себе какой-то непонятный амулет, на том приключение и завершилось.

Прошли годы, жизнь превратилась в рутину, и рыцарь начал вспоминать былые деньки. Оливера начали мучать кошмары, в которых он видит злую версию себя… И вот в один прекрасный день принцесса, нянча дитя, попросила своего возлюбленного слетать за хлебушком (не смейтесь!). И тут история завертелась по новой, зайдя на второй круг. И наверняка у вас возник вопрос: да что же за сказочку ты нам здесь расписываешь? Это не сказочка, друзья, а сюжет двухмерного shoot 'em up-проекта Gryphon Knight Epic от команды Cyber Rhino, который вышел на просторах Steam, а также не обошёл стороной PS4 и Xbox One.

Антуражи сказки заканчиваются вместе с тренировочным уровнем, поскольку Оливеру предстоит сразиться не только с коварным врагом, но и со своими друзьями, чей разум помутился. Оседлав грифона Аквиллу, рыцарь отправится по очереди преодолевать уровни, состоящие из двух карт. В конце каждой - босс. На первой – промежуточный, а на второй – основной. Поскольку герои живут в разных уголках континента, мы посетим пески, джунгли, заснеженные горы и прочие места, причём в произвольном порядке (как, например, в серии Mega Man). Строение здешних локаций нелинейное, их частенько можно проходить несколькими способами, но в итоге мы всё равно доберёмся до босса. Никто не запрещает летать туда-сюда, сворачивая на развилках, но это рано или поздно надоест, так как врагов возрождается не так много, как с самого начала. С противников в Gryphon Knight Epic активно сыплются денежки, которые можно потратить на рынке или в лавке волшебника. Там есть бонусы на любой вкус - зелья, помощники, усилители рун и оружия:
  • разнообразные зелья помогают в бою – лечат, ускоряют, вводят в состояние ярости и так далее;
  • помощники оказывают пассивную поддержку - стреляют по врагам, возрождают, помогают добывать золото и прочее;
  • возможность усиливать руны открываются только тогда, когда Оливер находит их, они увеличивают различные его характеристики;
  • оружие мы получаем, побеждая боссов. Его можно переключать в любой момент, поскольку оно служит дополнительным средством уничтожения противников, но при этом любимым «агрегатом» рыцаря всегда остаётся арбалет.
Братья ПономаренкоНа базаре и в лавке мага сидят настоящие шутники-затейники. Маг и торговец шутят на тему игр, кино и даже над друг другом. Есть даже специальное достижение в игре – выслушать все их реплики. Достаточно просто остаться с ними чуть дольше обычного, и они начнут рассказывать вам забавные вещи! Поскольку игра принадлежит к жанру shoot 'em up в ней всегда царит настоящий хаос. Враги прут со всех сторон, кругом снаряды, стрелы и прочее, а потом всё это исчезают из поля зрения на несколько секунд, бешено сбивая динамику. Потом они вновь смертоносной волной слетаются отовсюду, но контраст несколько напрягает. Боссы тоже не дают спуску, причём промежуточные враги порой выглядят сильнее основных. Во-первых, у них нет шкалы здоровья, а во-вторых, они в отличие от ключевых главгадов – огроменные монстры, по которым не сложно попасть, но от которых сложно увернуться. Сражения выполнены без особых заморочек – главное метко стрелять, хотя есть пара боссов, к которым не подобраться без выполнения определённых условий. К примеру, сошедшая с ума волшебница отгораживается от нашего героя молнией. Чтобы заставить её вновь открыться, нужно специальными переключателями направить поток воды в электрическую дугу, чтобы её замкнуло. Этакая битва-головоломка, пока злодейка поливает нас из своего посоха боевыми заклятьями, мы уворачиваемся и переключаем рычаги.

Влияние вторичного оружия на геймплей в Gryphon Knight Epic очень велико. Вышеупомянутую ситуацию с волшебницей можно разрешить, использовав особый лук или её же посох (если вновь возвращаться к этой битве после победы). Они будут прошивать заклинательницу несмотря на защиту. Это как в серии Mega Man, где некоторые уровни со способностями определённых боссов проходятся гораздо проще. Жанры у игр разные, но такая особенность Gryphon Knight Epic явно к лицу. Помощники, упомянутые выше по тексту, тоже неплохо помогают. Летающий гном увеличивает прирост золота, фея – оживляет, три ведьмы атакуют врагов и т.д. Приобретённый в лавке маленький друг работает от жёлтых кристаллов, выпадаемых с врагов.

Все эти дополнительные элементы в Gryphon Knight Epic отлично дополняют классический для жанра игровой процесс, и игра с удовольствием проходится до самого конца. Здесь предусмотрено 3 сложности, которые очень сильно меняют игровой процесс. Если на лёгком у нас нет проблем со здоровьем, то на сложном мы просто не можем найти кристаллы лечения, зато денег при такой сложности выпадает гораздо больше. Из достоинств нельзя не отметить приятную картинку, которая приведёт в восторг любого ретромана. Это качественные 16-бит, которые, впрочем, на большом экране понравятся далеко не всем. Музыка, напротив, вышла не столь яркой, и сейчас я просто не могу вспомнить ни одного мотива из игры, так что это просто серый фон, не выбивающийся из общей картины. И на том спасибо.

Gryphon Knight Epic достойна похвалы, равно как и её создатели. Но без огрехов в ней, увы, не обошлось. Габариты рыцаря на грифоне очень плохо чувствуются, потому что гордое существо под сэром Оливером непрерывно машет крыльями. Кажется, что вражеский снаряд или сам враг пролетит мимо, но нет! Мы получаем смачную затрещину. На перекрёстках рыцарь ведёт себя немного странно из-за кнопки смены направления движения. Мы можем развернуться, а камера продолжит своё путешествие в противоположном направлении. А ещё камера не всегда хочет нормально себя вести на развилках, пока не ткнёшься в край экрана всем организмом как рыцаря, так и грифона. Ещё один повод для расстройства – замедленное срабатывание некоторых дополнительных орудий. Грифон летает быстро, и вот мы вроде бы нацелились на врага, нажали кнопку и… улетели через секунду в сторону, выстрелив уже там. Неприятный осадочек остаётся.

Медаль гриффонаGryphon Knight Epic может похвастаться хорошим комплектом трофеев – 40 бронзовых , 6 серебряных , 3 золотых и 1 платиновый . Большая часть кубков не сложная, но есть пару трофеев, которые станут настоящей головной болью. Например, для одного «золота» нужно пройти игру не улучшая и не покупая ничего, вооружившись лишь арбалетом на среднем или сложном уровне. Тут придётся попотеть, друзья, а иначе не получится стать эпичным рыцарем грифона!
Визуальный стиль имеет значение! Шарма у Gryphon Knight Epic хоть отбавляй, вот только подействует он не на всех. Игра эффектно стилизована под ретро и предлагает классический shoot 'em up геймплей с парой очень приятных фишек. Её можно быстро пройти буквально за 5 часов и забыть о ней навсегда, получив свою дозу удовольствия от забавных диалогов, динамичного игрового процесса и напряжённых битв с боссами. Но при этом Gryphon Knight Epic останется примером хорошего инди, остающегося вне высшей лиги из-за ряда условностей и небольших недочётов..
Обзор написан по цифровой версии игры для PS4, предоставленной редакции издателем. Скриншоты в обзоре сделаны напрямую с указанной системы.

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Запоздалые обзоры - Gryphon Knight Epic - Блоги

Хотя я как и многие дети 90х почти все свое детство провел за приставкой, сегодня у меня совершенно не возникает желания повторить свои пиксельные подвиги, хотя доступность картриджей и приставок сегодня почти приблизилась к той, что была в 90х. Но я очень ценю наличие привкуса NESа в современных играх, будь то искусная пиксельная графика, хороший чюптюн саундтрек или игровая механика, похожая по ощущениям и опыту на игры 80х. Стереотип о том что подобных игр сегодня много ошибочен. Лишь немногие разработчики могут позволить себе “классический” пиксель арт, совсем редко встречается чистый чюптюн и совершенно редко можно повстречать игру, которая по ощущениям и геймплею повторяла бы NES хиты. Одной из таких игр и является Gryphon Knight Epic.

Знакомьтесь, Gryphon Knight Epic, 2015 года выпуска. Создана независимой бразильской студией Cyber Rhino Studios. Средства для игры собирались на Киктсартере. В итоге игра вышла и порадовала всех ожидавших её геймеров великолепным артом и высокой сложностью. Помимо Пк, игра присутствует и на PS4  и Xbox One, что вызывает уважение. Игра представляет собой средневековый скролл-шутер, который дарит игроку 8 напряженных уровней, полных ожесточенных боев.

Gryphon Knight Epic с первого взгляда напоминает игру Castle Crashers, но лично для меня эта игра больше похожа на  NES-хит Tale Spin, игре по мультсериалу, который  мы знаем под названием “Чудеса на виражах”. В основе сюжета игры лежит история о благородном рыцаре сэре Оливере и его верном грифоне Аквиле, управлять которыми и предстоит игроку. В отличии от большинства средневеко-фентезийных игр, здесь нам не нужно убивать дракона и спасти принцессу. Все это уже сделал сэр Оливер со своими друзьями раньше. Просто героев ждал небольшой такой подвох, о котором они даже не подозревали. После поражения дракона, герои обнаружили тайник с сокровищами и принялись их делить. Сэр Оливер же был так очарован принцессой что забил на сокровища и принялся её успокаивать.

В итоге ему не досталось ничего, кроме амулета, который никто брать себе почему-то не захотел. Взяв амулет, сэр Оливер вместе с принцессой отправился назад, в замок короля. И как не трудно догадаться в итоге он женился на принцессе, они завели детей...и жизнь сэра Оливера стала скучной и однообразной. Интернета в те темные времена не было и сэр Оливер целыми днями сидел у окна, смотрел вдаль и вспоминал о своих боевых походах. У него больше не было цели, лишь домашняя работа. Эмоциональный фон сэра Оливера пошатнулся и он стал видеть страшные сны о себе самом — злобном и жестоком. И так бы он и жил в тоске зеленой, если бы однажды не случился странный случай. Направляясь на поиски пропитания, сэр Оливер встречает своего двойника, который рассказывает ему что амулет который он нашел в логове дракона на самом деле поделил личность сэра Оливера на темную и светлые стороны. После недолгого разговора двойник нападает на сэра Оливера и побеждает его, но прибежавшая королевская стража отпугивает злобного фантома.

Сэр Оливер был страшно напуган случившимся и одновременно рад — у него появилась цель! Он вспомнил что помимо амулета, в тайнике дракона были также некие волшебные орудия, которые взяли себе его друзья. Недолго задумываясь, сэр Оливер спешит узнать как дела у его друзей и отправляться в путь…

Вначале игры мы видим сообщение что для лучшего игрового опыта лучше использовать геймпад. И это чистая правда - играть на клавиатуре в эту игру можно, но это не так удобно как на геймпаде. Герой, сидящий на своем драконе может летать взад и вперед, атакуя врагов выстрелами. Уничтожив всех врагов впереди, можно развернуться назад и встретить новых врагов. Это хорошо помогает фармить самоцветы,которые дают силу и восстанавливают здоровье. Они кстати хорошо помогают компенсировать не слишком высокий навык игры. Игра требует от игрока внимательности и активного передвижения по всему экрану.

Противников желательно убивать сразу же и тратить время на маневры и развороты, по крайней мере когда это возможно. Значительно упрощает игру возможность заряженного выстрела, без которого пройти игру практически невозможно. Он с легкостью убивает крупных врагов и наиболее предпочтителен в боях, нежели обычный выстрел. Скучать в опасном путешествии нам не дадут спутники - маленькие фигурки драконов и рыцарей, которые будут лететь рядом с нами и помогут нам в нашей борьбе. К сожалению никаких косметических предметов в игре нет. Впрочем, грифон и без того выглядит довольно мило.

Визуально игра оформлена превосходно - каждая локация это не просто фоновая картинка с врагами — это живой мир, населенный существами. На заднем фоне мы постоянно видим обитателей локаций — животных и птиц, занятых своими делами.

“Живой” бэкграунд положительно сказывается на восприятии игры — ты сразу понимаешь что разработчики вложили много сил в оформление и желание увидеть то будет впереди заставляет начинать игру снова и снова после поражения. А поражений будет много, по крайней мере первое время.Сама игра при этом совершенно не похожа на пиксельарт, хотя и является. Музыка есть и даже соответствует своему уровню по настроению, но почти не заметна и в память не западает.

На середине игры весь градус сложности куда-то уходит и оставляет игрока один на один с сюжетом. Да, Gryphon Knight Epic это чисто геймплейная игра и сюжет тут нужен лишь для галочки, но чем больше в нее играешь, тем интереснее становиться сюжет.Но не спешите радоваться — кажущаяся простота в середине — не более чем иллюзия и впереди вас ждет множество неприятных сюрпризов. Писать о боссах нет особого смысла, но мне очень запомнилась девушка-пират(забыл ее имя), схватка с которой наиболее похожа на сражения с боссами в NES-играх.

Если говорить о наиболее предпочтительной версии игры, то я не заметил особой разницы между ними. Хотя играть с геймпадом в игру намного удобнее, привыкнув, можно пройти игру и на клавиатуре. На сайте разработчика также даются в подарок за донат различные “расширенные” версии игры, включающие в себя материалы по разработке и прочие бонусы.

Подводя итог, можно сказать что Gryphon Knight Epic - это классический скролл-шутер, обещающий нам ретро-экспириенс и свое слово выполняющий. Играется игра ничуть не хуже своих NES-предков, разве что аддитивность у нее не такая сильная. Игра требует от игрока хорошей реакции и быстроты, что хорошо исполняется на геймпаде, а наличие апгрейтов дает возможность немного облегчить свою задачу. Что немаловажно, игра локализована на множество языков, а том числе на русский, что согласитесь большой плюс.

Лично для меня эта игра стала приятным сюрпризом, найденным в конце года. Безупречное исполнение и высокая сложность игры вызывает только положительные эмоции.

Я читал отзывы, что якобы у игры проблемы с балансом, но это не более чем субъективный взгляд некоторых игроков. Если вы не боитесь трудностей, то вам однозначно стоит попробовать игру Gryphon Knight Epic, если уж не на высоком уровне, то на среднем точно.

Игра:Gryphon Knight Epic

Разработчик:Cyber Rhino Studios

Дата выпуска:21 апреля 2015

Общая оценка: 5 из 5

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Gryphon Knight Epic - GAMBIT

Gryphon Knight Epic is a game that is a lot of fun despite itself. I know that’s a weird way to start a review, but just bear with me on this. Gryphon Knight Epic is a game really pretty looking game from Cyber Rhino Studios. It has this retro inspired aesthetic that pulls from the heady days of the 16 bit generation with systems like the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. The whole world is gorgeous, with lots of animations and really well done multi-layered backgrounds.

The game itself see’s the player taking the role of a noble knight that sets out to rescue his friends from the evil influence of a number of weapons that they all collected in a past adventure. These weapons have been slowly corrupting them all and bringing out their evil sides to cause all sorts of havoc within their individual kingdoms. Nothing to wild on the story front, but it does do a good job at setting up the world and giving the player some solid motivation for getting through the game. But what really makes Gryphon Knight Epic stand out is in the gameplay department -for better or for worse, depending on who you ask.

The game is set up like a classic sidescrolling shoot ’em up –or SHMUP– and see’s you riding your gryphon through a good variety of stages. Unlike most SHMUPS though, you have the ability to change direction at will. This means that if you miss something, or really want to take out an enemy, you can tap a button –or key– and head left or right whenever you wish. This is a really cool mechanic that will have you doing a bit of backtracking, and because of this makes the stages last a bit longer. You’ll also at certain time get the chance to take alternate routes during a stage, and this is a lot of fun, especially as you can usually take all these multiple paths in a single run, meaning that you won’t always have to go back to old levels if you are a completionist like myself.

The issue with the sort of free-roam mechanic is that you will be moving really slow during the game. In fact, it feels only slightly faster than your standard walk in most platforming sidescrollers. Gryphon Knight Epic is probably going to be the slowest SHMUP that you will ever play. This pacing artificially inflates the games length, but it never gets to the point where it drives you mad, as there is always something going on onscreen. Even with searching out every nook and cranny for every secret room, path, and rune stone, –extra bits that power you up with a permanent stat boost– the game clocked in for me at just over 6 hours in length.

Where Gryphon Knight Epic really falters is with the very SHMUP mechanic that it so heavily relies on. Because the fact that you are sitting on the back of a gryphon your hitbox gets all sorts of messed up. If you have played a SHMUP before you know that the player hitbox is centered on the character, whatever that character may be. In Gryphon Knight Epic the hitbox is a rectangle that encompasses your character, –which is fine– but since you are riding on the back of a gryphon who can’t be hot, this hitbox is off-centered. This causes the difficulty, even on the rookie mode to be outrageous early on, as your eyes want to focus on the center spot of both characters, thus causing you to take tons of damaging as you try to readjust everything you’ve ever known. Having the option to resize, or readjust this hitbox would have solved this issue.

Another issue comes with your attacks. You can of course shoot forward like in any other SHMUP, and you can buy little helpers ala R-Type, but for whatever reason the game only lets you shoot forward. You can’t shoot up, down, behind you, or at an angle while playing. Early on this isn’t a huge deal, especially since you can easily turn around, but in later stages when enemies abound it will lead to some cheap deaths. Another problem pops up after you rescue your friends from their evil selves, as when this happens you take thie cursed weapon for your own use. These alternate weapons are pretty fun and give you the power of each boss, much in the same way as Mega Man, but a few of them are so overpowered that it makes the game a breeze, even the boss battles, on the standard difficulty. There was one weapon in particular that simply decimated  every enemy, mid-boss, and boss without much trouble.

Volgarr, is that you?

While Gryphon Knight Epic is a really pretty game, this style comes at a cost. You can easily find yourself getting lost among the clutter. This happens because there isn’t enough of a distinction graphically between the game layer and background layer. Everything just blends into one big lump, especially when lots of enemies show up. Gryphon Knight Epic is so close to being a great game, but it just manages to fall short in so many aspects of its design. But even with all the negatives I have mention, I still couldn’t stop playing it. Heck, I was up till three in the morning making my way to the last boos.

Like I mentioned when I started this review Gryphon Knight Epic is a game that is a lot of fun despite itself. The core idea and fun story really manage to grab you visually, with solid sound and music, and good gameplay ideas. While the game is frustrating in all the wrong ways, it still manages to entertain on a level many indie titles simply can’t. With a few tweaks and adjustments Gryphon Knight Epic could have been a great entry in the SHMUP genre, but as it stands it simply falls into that nebulous status of just being a good game.

// Related Stories

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Gryphon Knight Epic Review

Title: Gryphon Knight Epic

Version Tested: PC

Available On: Windows, Mac, Linux

Developer: Cyber Rhino Studios

Publisher: Cyber Rhino Studios

Genre: Shoot ’em Up, Bullet Hell

Official Site: http://gryphonknightepic.com/

Release Date: August 20, 2015

Where to Buy: Steam

A knight rushing to rescue his friends aboard his trusty mount – a gryphon named Aquila? A retro-themed, side scrolling shoot ’em up? Mega Man style level selection, with unlockable weapons and three different difficulty selections? Gryphon Knight Epic checked all those boxes and found its funding through Kickstarter in August of 2014. While it does deliver on a lot of these ideas, Gryphon Knight Epic also suffers from a few major issues. It has infuriating difficulty spikes, some bizarre control options, and it just really brings nothing new to the table. Overall, Gryphon Knight Epic is a solid concept that stumbles in its execution.

Gryphon Knight Epic starts strong with an interesting story and tutorial section. You control Sir Oliver, who rescues and marries a princess from the clutches of an evil dragon at the beginning of the game. Now living a calm and subdued life, Oliver is pulled back into adventure by the consequences of that victory: each of his friends has been cursed by the loot obtained from that adventure, and only he can set things right. Mounting his trusty gryphon, Oliver must fight through a series of R-Type + Megaman levels, rescuing his friends and obtaining their weapons. The basic design choices are all there, and the retro graphics and music brought a smile to my face and instantly brought me back to my Super Nintendo days. Unfortunately, the sense of nostalgia wears off quickly and a few big issues present themselves.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Most side scrolling shoot ’em ups have a rough difficulty as a key draw. Players dive into these games knowing a challenge is imminent. In Gryphon Knight Epic, this difficulty is there for all the wrong reasons. The first is the radical difficulty spikes the game employs. There are three difficulties: way too easy, really hard, and nope. It is not even a matter of execution, either; Sir Oliver’s sprite is gigantic and sluggish. He fires rapidly but ultimately is unable to maneuver in such a way that makes it feel like you could survive even with some skillful execution. “Cheap” is not a good term to describe difficulty, and that’s exactly how this game feels. I rarely felt accomplished after completing a level; I more felt like a lucked out and pumped a bunch of money into healing potions.

One of the key selling points of Gryphon Knight Epic was that the player could tackle stages in multiple ways. Turn around and backtrack, go down multiple paths and explore new routes. Enemies can attack from all directions, and the player needs to react accordingly. This would be great, except for one huge execution flaw that significantly hampered the game: you can’t shoot behind you. You have to physically turn the sluggish Sir Oliver around with a button press to kill enemies behind you. This would be an ok issue to deal with, except that this button press also shifts the direction that the screen scrolls. This is a jarring gameplay mechanic that disrupts the flow of Gryphon Knight Epic to the point where I never wanted to turn around. Forget about it if I was moving diagonally; I’ll just start the stage over.

The stage select screen brings back memories of Megaman.

Even with some gameplay issues, Gryphon Knight Epic has some good elements to it. Occasionally I found myself hitting that zen moment, specifically in some fun boss battles. A few standouts included one battle with an archer and their pet gorilla, and another involved dodging laser blasts while trying to solve a puzzle that could bring down the enemy’s shield. The shop where you can upgrade your attacks and add a follower (such as a dragon that provides extra firepower or a shield guardian) allows you to customize your tactics to a specific style of gameplay. And Gryphon Knight Epic‘s obvious Megaman inspiration (right down to the screen where you obtain the new weapon) adds a tangible reward and sense of anticipation for completing each level.

This screen also has a Megaman vibe to it.

Even though the graphics of Gryphon Knight Epic are bright and stand out well, there are some strange choices. Enemies are easy to spot and are fairly easy to assess, but sometimes the weird design choices bleed through again. In the desert level, Sir Oliver fights the guards from Aladdin, a giant fiery genie, and metroids. Why metroids? Why do I rescue a man with a jet pack from an evil wizard? It sounds like nitpicking, but nearly every level had, at least, one point where I thought, “Why did they put this in the game?”

Even with its interesting soundtrack and graphical style, the big failing of Gryphon Knight Epic was that it was boring too often. It fails to find that difficult-yet-fair level that makes you want to keep playing. It also brought almost no originality to the table. It tries to have humorous interaction between Sir Oliver and his friends that often falls flat. The level design is about as cliched as it comes. Desert, pirate, jungle? Check, check, check. Clocking in at only eight short levels, Gryphon Knight Epic needs to fire on all cylinders to make it worth your while. Generally, it just stumbles over too many things to make it a game to recommend.

I will not be silent.

Gryphon Knight Epic is a solid first effort from Cyber Rhino Studios, a tiny Brazilian team of only three people. Even though it never quite reaches the level of the games it emulates, this is a studio to keep an eye on. Strong concepts with some flawed execution might indicate some impressive releases in the future. Gryphon Knight Epic might be worth picking up if it goes on sale, but it is too bland and punishing to recommend otherwise.

  • Gameplay: Old school side-scrolling shoot ’em up. Bizarre mechanics and clunky design make it more difficult than it should be.
  • Graphics: Charming sprites and bright color palette hearken back to SNES days. Cheery but unoriginal.
  • Sound: Again, soundtrack that sends you back to the old days. Practically non-existent sound.
  • Presentation: Megaman meets R-Type. Strong inspirations, but nothing new or original. Is not as funny as it wants to be.

Gryphon Knight Epic is a 2D Medieval Shoot’em up currently in development for Windows, MAC & Linux. Mixing elements from classical shoot’em ups, exploration and duel-like boss battles, it tells the story of Sir Oliver and Áquila, an accomplished knight and his loyal gryphon that are forced back to adventure once again.

Pros:
  • Retro graphics, music, and gameplay
  • Good combination of inspirations
  • Strong concept
Cons:
  • Execution cannot match concept
  • Insane difficulty spikes
  • Sluggish controls and design choices add superfluous difficulty
  • Boring and unoriginal

Jordan Baranowski

Jordan has been gaming and geeking as far back as he can remember. You can find him on Twitter @Jordality and occasionally find him streaming on Twitch.tv/JojoTheNinjaGaming. You can also check out his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCExyOMK798p7mCXwSayD2hg.

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thenerdstash.com

REVIEW: Gryphon Knight Epic

Title Developer Publisher Release Date Genre Platform Age Rating Official Website
Gryphon Knight Epic
Cyber Rhino Studios
Cyber Rhino Studios
August 20, 2015
Shooter, Retro, RPG
Linux, Mac, PC
Unspecified

At a glance, Gryphon Knight Epic looks like an amazing tribute to the 16-bit era of gaming. During the eight hours or so I spent playing, I was most reminded of the wonderful art direction of Capcom’s amazing run of 90s-era beat ‘em ups. There are shooting elements as well that owe more than a little bit of their inspiration to classic Konami bullet hell fare such as Gradius and Salamander, as well as a little Mega Man in terms of weapon acquisition. There are even some light retro RPG-style grinding elements. If I had to venture a guess, Brazilian developers Cyber Rhino Studios probably grew up appreciating a lot of the same types of games I did back then. Gryphon Knight Epic is a collage of other games, and, while that’s necessarily not a bad thing, my ultimate evaluation of the experience was that they spent maybe a little too much time writing their love letter to the visual aesthetics of the oldies and not enough time reproducing the gameplay that evokes such fond nostalgia.

In the game, you play the bold and valiant Sir Oliver on a quest to save your friends from the darkness in their own hearts, which has manifested as a result of looting cursed weapons from a dragon’s hoard a few years earlier. The story goes that this hearty band of adventurers, led by Sir Oliver and his trusty gryphon steed, Aquila, were assembled by the king to defeat a rampaging dragon and save his daughter from becoming its next sacrifice. When the killing was done, the looting began. The heroes absconded with weapons while Sir Oliver came away with an amulet that immediately made me think of the Arkenstone from The Hobbit.

“It’s nothing like Hank’s bow from Dungeons and Dragons!” Sir Oliver protested.

Post looting, the adventurers go their separate ways, and Sir Oliver ends up marrying the princess, settling down and getting himself a bit of a paunch. But the call of adventure is strong, and every night Oliver is haunted by nightmares of a dark version of himself that stalks him in his sedentary existence. Turns out that his treasure from the dragon’s hoard gives rise to dark urges within the wearer, and they manifest as separate beings made of corruption and other assorted badness. One day, Oliver sets off with Aquila to get dinner for his wife and child and is attacked by his evil twin. The fight ends with Oliver escaping with his life, realizing why he was attacked and fearing for the lives of his old companions. Dark Oliver, meanwhile, has retreated for now, but, as you can guess, he’ll be back. And so, Sir Oliver and Aquila are off on another epic adventure. A Gryphon Knight Epic adventure.

A fight broke out after Sir Oliver and Aquila told this giant frog they didn’t want any literature.

It should be noted that the game is partly non linear, much to its credit. After you defeat the first two stages, two more unlock, and you can choose to tackle them in any order you wish. Once you’re in a stage, you have enough control of your character that you can decide to go forward or backward until you reach a fork in the road, whereupon you are given a choice of which direction you want to proceed in. If you’re trying to find all the hidden areas, you’ll frequently have to advance down a certain path, trigger some mechanism or solve some clever puzzle and then backtrack to a newly-opened section in a previously visited area. The new paths lead to more money or special crystals that give Sir Oliver permanent upgrades such as improved health or speed. The best part is that the crystals can be upgraded in the marketplace between stages, granting you even more power. There’s always a reward to be gained from exploring every last square inch of Gryphon Knight Epic’s world.

Enemy variety is solid, and each has its own special types of attacks and movement. Some enemies fly at you in waves, others are stationary and hurl spears or fire arrows at you. Some take multiple hits to destroy and others cause damaging area attacks when they burst. It’s all fairly standard stuff in shooter terms, but obstacles are well enough implemented here, and each enemy is unique to their particular stage’s aesthetic touches. You have enough tools at your disposal to decide how you want to deal with these troublesome opponents, all of which can be changed on the fly with the in-game radial menu. When you defeat a boss, Gryphon Knight Epic uses the time-tested and gamer-approved Mega Man method of acquiring their weapons, complete with the familiar ‘You get the __weapon’ screen upon completion, with scrolling star fields and everything

Sir Oliver and Aquila have a giant problem in front of them. It’s a giant.

The game plays like a pastiche of different retro games. I immediately identified the node-assisted shooting action of Gradius, the varied enemies and boss tactics of Mega Man and the whimsical fantasy aesthetic of Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins. I’d say that, for the most part, they accomplished their goal of paying tribute, but I’m not so sure they succeeded in recreating the thrills of the era. Gryphon Knight Epic lacks any kind of visceral quality. Oh, the game looks stellar, but, as a shooter, it plays sluggishly and is missing that retro crunch that games like Shovel Knight and Mighty Gunvolt seemed to capture so eloquently.

I’m sad to say that Gryohon Knight Epic suffers from slow controls, and the colors blend together a bit too much. As a result, it’s sometimes difficult to evade enemy attacks, which is further compounded by the size of Aquila’s sprites on the screen. It lacks the kind of twitch-based responsiveness you expect out of this kind of game, and I wish they’d have tuned up this aspect to a greater degree. I will give credit to the boss fights, which are very smart in design and execution, have interesting and innovative mechanics and are wonderful gamified iterations of the bosses’s base concepts.

These mushrooms don’t make you larger. And there’s nothing else fun about them, either.

The shooting and killing sound effects don’t really have any weight to them, and, while you may consider this an odd criticism, bear with me. The sound an attack makes in retro games usually pierces the ear, adding to the overall atmosphere and appeal because it kindles a sensory recognition in the player that instantly becomes associated with the NES and SNES eras. In Gryphon Knight Epic, you get a sort of soft, subdued ‘pew-pew’ noise that isn’t really satisfying and just gets lost in a subdued and unremarkable soundtrack. Also, enemies make a very quaint ‘pop’ noises when they are destroyed, making what should feel like a legendary one-man, one-gryphon assault on the forces of evil instead come off like a day at the park. To give you some context, Mega Man and Castlevania both have a gratifyingly resonant sound design when it comes to killing enemies that just adds to the experience as a whole. With Gryphon Knight Epic, what should be a sublime tip of the hat to the SNES era just feels rather quaint, falling a little short of the mark in terms of any primal sensory aesthetic, and I feel that this is so much more important to the older generations of games because they heavily relied on sensory experience as part of the overall presentation.

Sir Oliver was bad at taking hints about not being wanted.

As mentioned earlier, there’s more than just action elements to Gryphon Knight Epic. To support the simple level system, there’s an in-game marketplace between stages where you can acquire items, satellite assistants called familiars that grant different types of buffs and the means to improve the quality of your arsenal. You gain currency by playing through the stages, defeating enemies and finding hidden treasures. You can replay areas if you’re not ready to tackle a harder part of the game, building up your coffers sufficiently to prepare yourself for the next hurdle. I found Gryphon Knight Epic to require a little bit of money grinding, mostly for the health restoration item, but it was so easy to repeat stages that I never felt frustrated. This wasn’t the controller-shattering purgatory of, say, Ikaruga or Radiant Silvergun. I feel that Cyber Rhino was more successful in this aspect of the game than in the action elements. They did a good job of making the shop interface and inventory system easy to interpret and the growth mechanic free of complication, more successfully recalling the era Gryphon Knight Epic is honoring with a simple grace. I’d love to see Cyber Rhino do a traditional turn-based RPG.

Pirates make everything better. EVERYTHING.

One of Gryphon Knight Epic’s most charming qualities is the art direction of its level design. The backgrounds of each of its imaginative stages are colorful and active, each one sufficiently infused with the spirit of its final boss to give your enemies (and former friends) interesting character and personality. You can tell Cyber Rhino Studios put a lot of thought into making them distinct from one another. One stage is based on a pirate character, so expect tall ships, cannons, buccaneers with flintlocks and even a kraken. Another puts a war between European knights and Viking raiders as the backdrop, with burning villages, siege towers and columns of smoke obscuring clashes between hoards of spear-wielding armies battling against one another.

You can tell that a lot of thought went into the presentation of Gryphon Knight Epic’s different stages. Cyber Rhino Studios successfully paid tribute to the 16-bit side scrolling era and understood just how all of the different kinds of visual easter eggs sprinkled through those games were such a hallmark of that time — an aspect that I sorely miss in modern offerings. I was reminded of the background activity and animations of Capcom’s CPS 2 heyday as I was playing. In fact, I’d say that my biggest takeaway from Gryphon Knight Epic is in how much Cyber Rhino Studios understood and reproduced the art direction of the industry as it was 20 years ago.

Practically historical fiction here. Including the gryphon.

Gryphon Knight Epic is the kind of game I would probably initially want to make if I were an indie game dev. Not because it’s a retro homage to classic video games with instantly recognizable inspirations. It’s more because developers Cyber Rhino Studios picked a lot of obscure references that only a hardcore fan of 90s era gaming would appreciate. The kind that show a real admiration for the aesthetic aspects of classic games, those extra flourishes that make the source material more than just another platformer/shooter/RPG. Knights of the Round, for example, is a really fascinating beat ‘em up that I remember just as much for the background scenes of villages burning and peasants running as I do for the combat and leveling elements. It’s just such a shame that the underwhelming sound design and serviceable but ultimately unsatisfying controls aren’t of the same caliber. As a result, Gryphon Knight Epic is an uneven experience, but, if you really love the SNES area, you might want to give it a look.

Review copy provided by Cyber Rhino Studios.

About Tom Tolios

Really smart, talks too much, loves the video games and the Star Wars and the Game of Thrones, likes the manga and some anime and knows that Kentaro Miura's Berserk is the greatest thing ever made.

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Gryphon Knight Epic Review – GameSpew

Some genres just never die. That’s not to say some shouldn’t – a wizened sage once prophesied the demise of the dating sim, but unfortunately this has yet come to pass. Nevertheless, the side scrolling “shoot’em up”, also known as the “shmup”, has been steadfastly plugging along. With the help of Kickstarter,  independent Brazilian developers Cyber Rhino Studios are attempting to bring the shmup back to its former glory in the form of Gryphon Knight Epic, although they might be overcompensating with that title.

Flying onto the stage on your gryphon steed Aquila, you play as Sir Oliver, a dragon-slaying knight of Valiantskies armed with a trusty Crossbuster (also known as a repeating crossbow). After saving the kingdom with the help of his six friends, all of whom are competing for the “stereotype of the year” award, and looting the dragon’s hoard, Sir Oliver comes to realise that there is something amiss with his fellow warriors that requires investigation. Aggressive investigation. With a crossbow. Truth be told, the story of Gryphon Knight Epic is hardly compelling, treading the line between generic and parody, with the “narrative” only serving to vaguely link the eight stages together. The dialogue however is actually quite tongue in cheek and frequently references the tropes of Medieval adventure games, but sadly some of its nuances seems to be lost in translation and could benefit from better localisation.

“Gryphon Knight Epic is difficult in the same way a person who counts cards presents a ‘challenge’ at the poker table”

Side scrolling shoot-em ups have a reputation for being notoriously difficult. The “bullet hell” sub genre pits players against an almost sadistic number of projectiles on the screen at any one time, and requires innumerable restarts before you can memorise the movements of enemies to ensure victory. In recent years the shoot’em up genre has survived not by diversifying and becoming more accessible, but by exploring all seven circles of “bullet hell” until even the most hardcore of players must admit defeat. Gryphon Knight Epic sits neatly in about the fifth circle of hell. Indeed, the difficulty here isn’t so much the number of enemies as it is the infuriating slowness of Sir Oliver, who is apparently so geriatric by this point in his career that he is sometimes completely incapable of dodging the attacks of his enemies at all. On normal (Knight) difficulty, the game often feels unfair – you try to dodge certain death only to be immediately slapped in the face for your insolence. What’s worse is that because the game boasts “exploration” as part of its charm, it allows you to change direction whenever you want. The problem here is that when you change direction in a game that automatically scrolls in the direction that you happen to be facing, whenever you turn around fresh enemies appear on the other side of the screen despite the fact that you’re absolutely certain you just passed through that area not two seconds ago and decimated anything with a pulse. Gryphon Knight Epic is difficult in the same way a person who counts cards presents a “challenge” at the poker table.

So, let’s presume that you really, really like shoot’em ups. This means that you won’t stop playing the game after the first 30 minutes because at first glance it seems too difficult. You may even be one of those rare breeds that “enjoy the challenge”. You might even persevere on normal difficulty rather than switching to easy mode like a certain reviewer did. But what is there that makes you want to play Gryphon Knight Epic over any other old shmup? Well, there’s the unique weapons that you can unlock after defeating each stage, such as the three arrow shooting Muuk Bow or the firework firing Ryuunabi Cannon, which you can cycle through at any time. There are also the “Squires”, little perks that provide you with boons like a shield or extra money. Finally there are potions that provide health, mana, invulnerability etc. All these require money to purchase or upgrade, which is granted upon defeating enemies. Unfortunately, the lower the difficulty level the less money you will receive, and more often than not you will see most of your hard earned coins invested in health potions that you will need if you want the privilege of existing. It’s very similar to council tax. If you truly want to sample all the variety that Gryphon Knight Epic has to offer, you will have to either be incredibly skilled or a masochist who enjoys grinding, and by extension, a lack of social life.

“Gryphon Knight Epic is a game that caters well to its niche audience”

As I previously mentioned, the developers advertise “exploration” as part of their game’s appeal. The “exploration” mostly involves choosing to “go up” or “go down” at certain junctures, backtracking, and hitting switches. At one point there was a colour mixing mini-game that reminded me of the educational CD-Roms I used to play when I was still discovering the childhood delights of the “Rainbow Song”. Your reward for this brave foray into uncharted territories are magical Runes, which grant the wearer different passive and active abilities to help in your quest. It is of course perfectly possible to complete the game without these Runes, and the process of finding them can be so tedious that you soon begin to question your commitment to “exploration” after about 10 seconds of lazily floating back to the beginning of the stage only to be accosted by enemies that have no right to be there. If indeed you do decide that repeating levels and unlocking the mysteries of Valiantskies is not worth your time, the game proves to be very short unless you put yourself through the seemingly unending dying in “Knight” or, heaven forbid, “Epic” mode.

Whilst my less than obsessive attitude towards hellishly difficult shoot’em ups is no secret, I can clearly recognise the passion and direction behind Gryphon Knight Epic. A return to the heyday of 2D pixel art has clearly been attempted, although rather than the revolutionary pixel artistry of games like Fez we are given an aesthetic which many would simply regard as dated, while some would class as nostalgic. The music, although sometimes repetitive, fits well with the style of the game. Furthermore, even though Gryphon Knight Epic only has eight stages, they are all unique in setting (drawing upon all manner of cultures and time periods) and are filled with unique enemies, each having their own and surprisingly long entry in the game’s Compendium. It seems like the developers had a good foundation for world building but placed that talent in a game that does not benefit from it, and as a result it feels equally as cobbled together as it is diverse.

“A return to the heyday of 2D pixel art has clearly been attempted, although rather than the revolutionary pixel artistry of games like Fez we are given an aesthetic which many would simply regard as dated”

Gryphon Knight Epic is a game that caters well to its niche audience, which is undoubtedly comprised of those benevolent shmup obsessed souls that funded the Kickstarter campaign. Truly, it is a game that is fiendishly challenging for those that side scroll through life, and frustratingly unfair for your average Joe. Much like its setting, Gryphon Knight Epic proves to be somewhat of an anachronism in the world of modern games.

Gryphon Knight Epic is available on PC.

www.gamespew.com

Gryphon Knight Epic Review | GameGrin

I had originally started this review with the intention of slating Gryphon Knight Epic to hell and back. My first few plays had been teeth-gnashingly frustrating, and I was half-tempted to throw my computer away in a miserable huff. However, that is not what will be happening, as Gryphon Knight Epic is, appropriately, an odd beast. Like the annoying secondary character in a film where their behavior aggravates the protagonists to the point of their dismissal and future re-welcoming, this game started to grow on me very peculiarly.

The premise is an interesting one: Gryphon Knight Epic is a shmup, but it's a new spin on an old game. Usually in this genre, we get spaceships at our disposal, but Gryphon Knight Epic doesn't play by your rules. You play as a knight named Sir Oliver, who rides a gryphon and kills enemies with a souped-up crossbow that can be charged and fired off in a manner not too dissimilar from Mega Man's Mega Buster. This is an awesome idea to build a game on – how could I possibly have been mad at it?

The wider plot of the game is also a winner. A while ago, the good knight was on a mission with six friends to rid the world of evil and save the kingdom's princess. After the battle was won, they were rewarded with loot; the most interesting pieces of which were six weapons and an amulet. Because our randy hero spent too much time trying to seduce the princess (he succeeds), he loses out on the weapons and gets saddled with the amulet. However, the trouble is not over. These weapons are like the Horcruxes of Harry Potter in that if they're held for a long time, they begin to possess and make the wearer evil. The amulet, however, dispels evil spirits. So, Oliver and his gryphon Aquilo must set off to rescue his friends. It's a retro style of plot in that it's somewhat sparse, but it sets the action and level structure up brilliantly.

So if the game makes a good first impression, why does it frustrate so much? The keyboard controls are the most migraine-inducing set-up I have ever had the misfortune of working with. The controls on the keyboard are bunched up together uncomfortably, leading to too many awkward miss-presses which is death in a genre like the shmup, requiring care and precision. Happily, however, the game's recommended set-up with a standard gamepad works like a dream. Only on a gamepad are you playing Gryphon Knight Epic at its finest; indeed, the developers intended it as such: control of your gryphon is so much slicker and faster, and you can weave yourself in and out of the hail of bullets with ease. With a controller, the game becomes more of a choreographed dance, more like a retro title, and once that happens, that's when the game will click for you.

What does the actual core gameplay consist of, though? It's a scrolling 2D shoot-'em-up where projectiles come fast, and the enemies behind them come even faster. What this creates is a challenging little game where you always need to keep your wits about you, dodging everything that comes at you and eliminating it post-haste. Gryphon Knight challenges your reflexes, and when you overcome a level, there is an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. This game isn't easy by any stretch (though there are three modes of difficulty if you want to soften or harden the challenge), which can be attributed to the retro influences the game has taken.

These extend to the graphics, drawn in that familiar 16-bit style that Steam loves (for good reason: it's cheaper to produce, quicker, and often prettier) and everything looks colourful and sharp enough to burn Gryphon Knight Epic into your memory quickly. The graphical style is bright and chunky, like Mega Bloks, but still shiny and pretty to look at nonetheless. I don't use 'shiny' lightly, either, the game has this gleam to it, and I found my eyes turning to saucers on first glimpse. In simple terms, it is really, really pretty.

What's particularly encouraging is the replay value that the game holds. It's structured like a retro title, with a small collection of levels that can be beaten quickly, but due to the high difficulty, the challenge of trying to beat the game will last longer than the levels, if one were to run through them seamlessly. However, the game does offer up extra things to do that will stretch out play time. Oliver can collect his friends’ weapons and use them for himself. All of them can be upgraded multiple times. What's more, if you want to 100% this game, you'll need to backtrack to past levels and hunt out sections you might have missed, which just adds that little bit extra to the title.

Yet, oddly, the retro philosophy doesn't extend to the music. While some of the greatest retro soundtracks of all time have clear techno inspirations, especially in shoot-'em-up games, Gryphon Knight Epic takes a more intriguing approach. The soundtrack here sounds more ethereal and gentle, which sounds like they should feel out of place, but it oddly fits well with the game. It also proves to not be too distracting, which is exactly what you want when trying to manoeuvre yourself through a hail of bullets. What's more: the soundtrack is actually a beautiful piece of work that really ends up adding a lot to the overall sheen of the game.

Gryphon Knight Epic is a surprise in the purest, happiest sense. If you play this with a controller after suffering through the indignity of playing it on a keyboard, you'll find a colourful and well realised little shmup.

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