Gryphon Knight Epic Review (PC)

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Developer: Cyber Rhino Studios
Publisher: Cyber Rhino Studios

Main Review

Review Context: I played through the entire story of Gryphon Knight Epic, and collected nearly everything. I’ve played games with similar gameplay like Earth Defense Force (SNES), Gradius III (SNES), and Death Smiles (Xbox 360).
Date of Playthrough: August 2015

PC Specs Game Played on:
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Processor: Intel Core i5
RAM: 6GB
Video Card: GeForce GT220
Resolution:  1360×768
Disclosure: This review was based off of a review copy provided by Evolve PR.

Gryphon Knight Epic tells the story of the legendary knight Sir Oliver, who rides a gryphon named Aquila. The style of the game is shoot ’em up, which is a fun and challenging style that has never been very popular. This epic will bring you to all sorts of varied environments, and put you against some strong and interesting characters.

The story starts by telling you about how Oliver and Aquila became legends. He and six other heroes from around country joined together to defeat the dragon and save the princess. Oliver married the princess, while the other heroes obtained six special weapons from the dragon’s lair, and things seemed to be a happy ending for everyone. It’s from this ending that things pick up as Oliver is forced back into duty again to rescue the country by obtaining all six weapons.

GKE_screenshot_01

The gameplay is that of a 2D shoot ‘em up game, where enemies are coming at you from all sides; charging, jumping, shooting, spiting, and casting trying to prevent your objective. Gryphon Knight Epic doesn’t hold back either because the game is difficult. Patience, studying enemy patterns, and learning weaknesses all play into the overall success while playing. You are give options of Squire, Knight, and Epic, which are the easy, medium, and hard modes of the game. On top of making each stage easier or harder, they also change how much money enemies drop, the gems that heal or empower you for a short advantage in the stage, as well as punishments for dying, like losing money and lives. Squire mode has no repercussions for death. I completed the story once on Squire difficulty, which was very tough even in the easy mode. I have also progressed through a few levels on Knight difficulty, which is pretty difficult. Just beating the game on Squire difficulty alone would take about five hours, with finding half the hidden gems in each level.

As you earn more money in the game you can visit the store to buy squires or upgrade weapons and abilities. Squires are additions within the game that can aid you in each stage. Each squire has different uses, like shooting some fireballs for extra damage, or a shield that can protect Oliver from a hit. Squires have different levels that they can reach for more power, which is gained from orange gems that drop from enemies. If you get hit, your squire will lose a level, so if they are level three and you get hit, then they drop to level two. If they reach zero they become useless until you bring them to level one again. Abilities are gained from the six large gems that are hidden in each stage. These gems can get you better prices at the stores, or allow you to go into underwater paths. Each one is different and helps Oliver become stronger, so upgrading is a wise thing to do for these abilities. As you collect these special gems you are told a story of an ancient civilization that came long before Oliver’s time. Beating the boss of each stage will grant you a special weapon that will also help make progressing through stages easier. Bosses work similarly to the Mega Man series, where beating certain bosses will gain you an advantage over other bosses by obtaining a weapon.

GKE_screenshot_04

There are two parts to every stage in the game; the first part ending with a sub-boss, and the second with the final boss of the stage. Each stage has it’s own theme and setting, which has been crafted beautifully for every stage. From pirates on the ocean, to the snowy mountains, farm country, deserts, jungle, and the savannah, the art and music that was made for each level is simply amazing. Even in the more frustrating parts of the game, I simply couldn’t help but admire the scenery and music.

The controls of the game are pretty simple and very easy to learn on the keyboard. Your turn, shoot, and special weapon buttons are all right next to each other, and you can control the game by using WASD or the arrow keys. There is also an option to use a controller to play the game, which I found a lot more natural to play the game with versus the keyboard. You can rebind the keyboard to make controlling the keyboard a more enjoyable experience if you prefer keyboard controls, or don’t have a controller to use.

GKE_screenshot_06

On the stage select screen, there is a compendium besides the store. The compendium documents each type of enemy, and gives you a little information about them. This also holds information about characters that you meet, and you can learn the backstory of the even lesser characters in detail. This is a great source of world building that was really well thought out. Learning about Aquila was a delight, as well as other characters. If you accidentally skip a cutscene or the piece of the story you are told when you collect the ability gems, then you can also locate them there as well. I didn’t have any technical issues other than some clipping through walls when the auto-scrolling sections boxed me into a wall, and dead enemies freezing in mid-air. This was nothing to impede progressing.

Gyphon Knight Epic is a fantastic game that I certainly enjoyed. While the story is interesting, the gameplay is what really shines. The level design is on point, and the music and settings in the game were simply fantastic. There is enough in the game to encourage you to go back and replay each stage again to try to collect and upgrade everything. Gryphon Knight Epic brings the best of older games together and polishes them very well.

Similar Games Liked:
Gradius III (SNES)
Death Smiles (Xbox 360)

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