If you are looking for a colorful and heartfelt adventure set in the 80’s to play with a friend, then Knights and Bikes may be just the game for you.
Title: Knights and Bikes
Developer: Foam Sword Games
Publishers: Double Fine
Platforms: PS4 (version reviewed), Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS, Macintosh operating systems
Release Date: August 27th, 2019
There are a few reasons why a person will play a particular video game: sometimes they love the story, sometimes it’s the graphics and sometimes it just looks so wild and out there that you just have to experience it for yourself. Such was the case with Knights and Bikes. I can honestly say that I have never seen a game quite like it before. Grab the tissues because you’re going to feel all the feels. Plus, you will never get that theme song out of your head.
Knights and Bikes is a Goonies inspired couch co-op and online game that is best when played with a partner (although it can be done solo, like I did). It follows two little girls that meet by chance on an island called Penfurzy in the 1980’s. Demelza lost her mother and lives alone with her dad and Nessa doesn’t have a place to stay, so Demelza let’s her stay in her special camping area. What ensues is adventure, bike riding, friendship, wicked boomboxing and dealing with loss. Together the girls create the Penfurzy Rebel Bicycle Club and go on to try and find a mysterious castle that is supposed to be hidden on the island that was in Demelza’s mother’s book.
Knights and Bikes is a gorgeous game.
During the adventure, they collect scrap and supplies to upgrade their bikes to make it through rougher terrain, abilities like a special glove and a boom box and meet up with their webbed-footed friend, Captain Honkers. You make your way across the island, solving puzzles and having adventures that may or may not be real after a curse is released on the road to your goal.
Knights and Bikes is a gorgeous game. It looks like the animated drawings from a child’s mind that have been brought to life. It is colorful and simple in its style (the geese designs are my favorite) and makes it feel like you are walking straight through a kid’s imagination.
You deal with heavy life themes such as dealing with death and eviction but it is honey-coated with humor and childhood innocence. If are playing solo, you can switch between Nessa and Demelza whenever you fancy and utilize their specific abilities to solve the puzzles. I love the designs of Nessa and Demelza (Demelza especially with her wild, curly hair and her massive, crazy eyes). They embody the chaotic nature and pure, vibrating crazy energy that kids are by design.
The gameplay isn’t difficult and sometimes it can get rather slow in the beginning. I did find myself slightly bored at times with the gameplay but those were the times that I lost myself in the game’s design. There are no speaking voices and the dialogue is delivered in old RPG style through text boxes; but, the girls do make random noises when initiating certain acts, such as running. When you run, the girls will do a Pee Wee Herman style scream pretty much the entire time, which can get a little bit grating but if you have any young children, you are probably immune to similar noises at this point.
The bikes can control a bit wild and wonky and they don’t really get much better, even after upgrades. There are various mini games that offer friendly competition, unless you are playing alone, in which case, you are only competing against yourself and you can rig the game all you want.
The game itself will run you anywhere between 5-9 hours depending on how you play and how difficult you find the puzzles. It isn’t a long game but the end will have you feeling all the feelings while it rips your heart out, stomps on it a bit and then puts a pretty band-aid on it so you can pretend that everything is okay. Now, maybe I’m exaggerating but I suppose you’ll never know unless you play for yourself.