Knytt Underground - Review

Author: Mattia "Zave" Ravanelli
Date: 2020-07-30 16:24:18
Among the (inter) national sports of the last few years, there is one that sees a good part of the critics and the public in the world of video games, united in underlining as often as possible how Sony has missed opportunities. How I am not understanding something. How Microsoft has made the most demanding audience low. Listing, perhaps (and be careful, not entirely wrong, on the contrary) the various moments and the multiple (in) decisions that led to the change on the throne. Then, however, one should take a look at how the Japanese megacorporation, led by Kaz Hirai in the video game sector, is moving, at least in the management of everything that is ultra-modern. That is: what happens through the PlayStation Store? There are games in digital format in large numbers, and the reference is to games born for shops, the so-called "triple A" (or even single A, is the same), present in greater numbers and proposed with more punctuality than the competition . Then there is also a good number of indie games and in this area there is Knytt Underground. We are still talking, addressing the topic "indie in the PlayStation home", of the environment that has been able to host the productions of thatgamecompany and the whole series of experiments of Q-Games (Pixeljunk) ... not exactly second-rate titles.

After choosing well with Big Sky Infinity, Sony again chooses well with Knytt Underground, available on both PS3 and PS Vita, with the option of Cross Buy and Cross Save (which, however, works kicking, I'll be back soon) at the price of 9, 99 euros. If, on the other hand, you are part of the PSN + family, you can go directly to the download without unstitching any more money. Which translated means: Sony believed that Knytt Underground could deserve a place of honor in a period, the pre and post-Christmas period, which would have attracted many. He did the right thing? Yes, but it is difficult to explain why.

Knytt Underground is a platform game if you like. A puzzle game if you prefer. A continuous exploration, if you think so. To say that the title, developed by Nicklas Nygren (better known as Nifflas), is a "great piece of the game", is exaggerated. Or maybe it's useless, because Knytt Underground is one of those titles that escape precise definitions and that, to be honest, also escape a precise understanding while playing. During my hours struggling with the work produced by Ripstone, I found myself dozens of times wondering: "what the hell did he say?", In front of a dialogue with a rather absurd non-player character, "why would I ever go beyond at this point? ", surprised and left to myself by a flow of events that seems beyond the intuitive possibilities of the player," but above all: what the hell is going on? ", when I finished the first two of the three chapters foreseen by Knytt Underground.

Giant flowers, tiny legs, infinite climbs: Knytt Underground.

Fortunately, as things go, things take a vaguely less tangled turn. If the first two chapters seem irrelevant and absurd to you, it is because they are basically two training phases in order to be able to face the third in a decent way, which is the real game. So it happens that initially he takes control of a young girl dumb and affected by amnesia, intent on climbing everywhere and jumping, weighed down by a physical model and by an absurd inertia that recalls some highly controversial European platform games of the 90s. Then, as if by magic (indeed, perhaps just by magic), we turn into a crazy ball that perhaps strumpallazza, but which certainly bounces wildly through a map quite similar to that explored by the girl. It happens that this part also ends and here is explained: the player has the task of exploring an immense map made up of about 1500 fixed and contiguous screens, using both the "mute girl" form and the "crazy ball" form, since it is possible to pass from one to the other simply by pressing a back button. However, the following are strange hours: the exploration is fascinating, the rhythm unpredictable but generally settled around Zen meditation. The minimalist soundtrack helps to recreate a mysterious and dreamlike environment, while the graphic design plays as much with the gloomy silhouettes, as with lysergic backdrops and chromatic clashes that make the journey enveloping and alienating.

Meanwhile, characters with improbable names say even more improbable things and at times it is legitimate to ask how much of this improbability Nifflas wanted and how much to be charged for a translation that here and there raises some doubts. Purpose of the game? Already said: jumping, climbing, enduring the physical model that repeatedly brings the worst out of people and go further. Towards a new corner of the map, towards a new little mission ("Hey, hello, will you go pick me mushrooms twenty-two screens farther?"), Towards a door to unlock, in a gigantic construction that takes on the features of the classic Metroidvania .

Here we are in a crazy ball version: managing it is complex, but every now and then some bounces come out ...

The problem is that you may get bored a lot earlier, is that you may find everything not only pretentious, but also poor and of doubtful taste, as well as useless. Knytt Underground might need a demo, which isn't available on PSN, but that probably wouldn't do too much. What about the cross save problem? Here we are: it is possible to set the Cross Save only at the beginning of the first game. If it happens, as in my case, to be on PS Vita, disconnected from the PlayStation Network and you start playing ... you will never be able to create a save to share via cloud with that game. Very uncomfortable.

Mattia Ravanelli (Editor of IGN Italia) has never endured platform games with people jumping twenty meters far and wide, but Knytt Underground is another thing. Explain to him, out of pity, what. Do it through his Twitter account.