Published on November 5th, 2018 | by Craig Forshey0
Super HelmKnight Review
While most retro style games aim to replicate the 8 and 16 bit era one interesting platformer by the name of Super HelmKnight is bucking that trend with a look and sound inspired by the Game Boy Advance. A much more ambitious followup to developer WarticWare’s previous title Blunko, Super HelmKnight is a straightforward yet engrossing callback to classic ‘mascot’ platformers that sees players jumping and slashing their way through an army of evil cartoon helmets that has spread throughout the land. It’ll be up to players to dispatch increasingly varied groups of malevolent headwear as they clear stage after stage of arena style levels in pursuit of each of the game’s 4 fearsome boss monsters. Combining satisfying old school hack and slash platforming with an authentic sounding soundtrack from composer wyver9, Super HelmKnight largely succeeds in paying homage to the on-the-go platformers of yesteryear.
Things start off simple enough, with players using straightforward touch controls to jump and attack as they slice & dice through waves of un-armed enemy helmets in order to clear each level of enemies and advance to the next area, but as players progress further into Super HelmKnight’s meaty 60 level campaign they’ll soon discover these warmongering wearables beginning to fight back using swords of their own as well as the environment itself. True to form like the games it takes inspiration from, players abilities stay the same throughout the game however the obstacles and foes they’ll encounter grow increasingly complex creating a nice difficulty curve that allows for accessibility while still providing a genuine challenge for even veteran platforming enthusiasts. Players may start off their adventure by traipsing through harmless meadows and slaughtering oodles of defenseless anthropomorphized headgear but by the end of their journey they’ll find themselves facing off against knife throwing trick shooters, kamikaze brawlers, and dual wielding sword masters.
In addition to the rogue’s gallery of standard enemies players will also face off against 4 devious minion spewing bosses that guard each area with their gargantuan frames. These are not to be trifled with lightly as charging in and swinging with abandon against these monsters will usually result in a game over. Instead players must bide their time and attack when there is an opening while taking care to farm health from the smaller minions they spawn when the opportunity presents itself. Should players wish to dive right into the action there is also an extra survival mode that pits players against hordes of enemies as they desperately attempt to hold out against the onslaught as long as possible.
Super HelmKnight excels both graphically and musically which helps to give a lot of personality to the game outside of just another platformer. Sprites are lively and nicely animated, echoing the classic ‘mascot’ platformers it takes after particularly well while the upbeat OST compliments this atmosphere with its own style that seperates it from the many games that just use royalty-free song libraries.
Summary: Super HelmKnight is exactly what it aims to be, a competently made love letter to a period in portable gaming that doesn't always get its due.