Backlog Burndown #21 – Invisible Knight

Knight Squad, Backlog Burndown,

Greetings Backloggers! A new month always means new freebies from various game services; to keep pace, I needed to finish three games this week to compensate for April’s Games With Gold offering. Appropriate then, that first up would be another Games With Gold acquisition: 2014 top down brawler Knight Squad.

Featuring a top-down view and play style similar to old-school classics such as GauntletKnight Squad is primarily a multiplayer game. What solo components there are come from the bot battle options and a series of single-player challenges good for six Achievements and four hundred Gamerscore.

Knight Squad, Backlog Burndown,

Challenge menu

I chose to focus on the challenges, which come in two flavors: Easy or Insane. Either difficulty will net you the same achievements and points, Insane just gives you better bragging rights and different leaderboards. My days of caring about those two things are largely in the past. I chose Easy.

Each challenge focuses on a specific enemy and how to defeat them. Completing a challenge unlocks the next one in the sequence, culminating with an unlimited wave “How long can you survive?” ode. Top of the leaderboard had over four hundred and fifty kills. My best was four.

Knight Squad, Backlog Burndown,

One of the Knight Squad Challenges – Kill all the things attached to the glowing sphere, then kill the sphere

I next turned my attention to the final two chapters of the Invisible Apartment series. I’ve covered Chapter Zero and Chapter One in previous columns, and I wanted to wrap up the story in one shot. Chapter Two is where a lot of actions and decisions take place. Kacey has a lot of choices to make as she grows tired of being a prisoner in her own safehouse, seems to be developing a relationship with Alex, and has to deal with the information that Alex’s mother implanted in her subconscious during her time in a sleeper pod.

Alex, meanwhile, is struggling to keep his double life as a Central Intelligence (CI) employee separate from his work with Kacey to expose some of the CI’s activities and to free his mother. A promotion and a new partner threaten to destroy everything he’s worked for as they explore the Bunny Hacker case. (Reminder for those just joining us, Bunny was Kacey’s hacking pseudonym.)

Invisible Apartment, Backlog Burndown

Pensive Kacey pondering her fate

Chapter Three brings everything to its final conclusion. Characters from all previous chapters re-appear. Alliances are made and broken. In a somewhat unfortunate departure from previous chapter designs, Chapter Three’s losing track choices all lead to a single bad end and a restart game screen. I miss the auto-save system of the previous chapters where bad choices seamlessly integrated into the story.

Backlog Verdict: Knight Squad isn’t terribly interesting as a single-player game. It is, however, a quick four hundred Gamerscore points in under an hour. The value of that data depends heavily on individual preferences.

For Invisible Apartment Chapters Two and Three, if you played Zero and One, then you may as well finish the story. Otherwise it’s like putting a book down halfway through. Some people can do it, I can’t.

There’s very little about this cyberpunk Visual Novel series that I haven’t already said. The characters are much better fleshed out by the end of the story, and I wouldn’t ind seeing another VN set i the same universe from these developers. Each individual chapter takes between sixty and ninety minutes to complete; the whole thing should take less than six hours.

Previous Backlog Count: 1,194

Current Backlog Count: 1,193 – Completed three, added two.

Next Time: As I struggle through yet another old-school classic, it’s time for another quick VN.

Backlog Burndown is a semi-regular feature on Marooner’s Rock. Read previous columns in the archives, and suggest future games to play in the comments!

Aaron is proof that while you can take a developer out of the game industry, it’s much harder to take the game industry out of a developer. When not at his day job, Aaron enjoys teaching Axis & Allies to his kids, writing sci-fi stories, playing classic space sims on Twitch, and riding around the American Midwest on his Harley.

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