Gryphon Knight Epic is a 2D shoot’em up game with medieval looks. The game blends horizontal scrolling with vertical scrolling with the result of open world styled instances. Undoubtedly, this gives a lot of movement freedom. You can turn around and get back to previous zones if that’s your will.
Gryphon Knight Epic (PC)
Developer: Cyber Rhino Studios
Publisher: Cyber Rhino Studios
Released: August 20, 2015
Steam Price: 6.99€
Classic, once-upon a time storyline inspired from traditional folklore. There was a kingdom, whose princess was stolen by a dragon. The king formed a party of brave adventurers with Sir Oliver as their leader. They made to the dragon, defeated him and saved the princess. As in each fairy tale, the princess fells in love with the brave hero and marries him. Before coming to the castle the adventurers looted the dragon’s lair and Sir Oliver was left with a strange amulet. This amulet will be the main symbol of the game, the only artifact that can save his friends.
Now, the story takes place years later, when peace is at it’s best and the married couple had a child. Later on, you find out that the amulet can separate the bad side of the wearer from the good side and that’s exactly what happened to the protagonist. The other weapons were cursed as well and they revealed their owners bad side.
Like the other aspects of the game, the music is influenced by each level too. It wasn't the magnificence that impressed me, but it's pure simplicity. In contrast with the increased game difficulty, the music is light and relaxing, it makes possible playing the game in a good mood no matter how many times you have died doing X level.
The game definitely feels like one of Cuphead’s ancestor. It’s extremely difficult. I highly recommend you to play on the normal or easy difficulty, at least for a while. Still, the difficulty blends nicely with the existence of health potions and buff potions, which are a must especially if you are playing on hard (not recommended at the beginning). Thank god that checkpoints are well positioned. You’ll die a lot of times during your journey and there are times when you can’t go back to town to refill your potions or buy upgrades. You heard right. Upgrades are tier based, which make the game progression system extremely satisfying. Each upgrade gives your secondary weapon more flavor, from multiple projectiles to increased damage. You can consider that is has a story related explanation. After years of peace, the warrior inside you went to sleep and you must recover your past abilities, the upgrades in our case.
By far, one of the most interesting moments in the game are boss fights. Each boss has a unique pattern of moves and a little randomness between them. Even on the normal difficulty, you should find beating them pretty hard. Learning their patterns and timing your dodge are the key components here.
There’s a huge enemy variety, from mosquitoes and bandits, to dragons and kobolds and much more. This aspect is influenced by the map you are in. The enemies blend perfectly with the environment type, as an example Muslim bandits that resembles the ones from the Ali Baba story are evidently placed in desert, as well as the bald eagles. Each of these encounters are fully animated. They have attack animations, movements and some miscellaneous too. What do you think about a “hurray” animation when the enemy hits you? You’ll see one of that during your journey, and it’s pretty hilarious. For a brief moment you’ll forget the negative aspect of being hit and focus more on the comedic atmosphere the game has.
Speaking of which, dialogues consist of on screen text messages similar to JRPG pixel art games. These usually appear before and after boss fights and give some glimpse on the personalities of Oliver’s friends. They are not supposed to represent a major aspect of the game, but a slight piece of comedy between fights. You can interpret this as a rest point specially made for us, human beings.
Each level it's made out of two stages. Each stage starts with lots of groups of enemies. The first stage ends with an intermediary boss with a passage blocking role. These are usually easy to kill and their attacks are easy to dodge. The second stage is the boss one. After you reach the endpoint you must fight the map's boss, which is one of your corrupted old friends.
Speaking of replayability, there is little of it. After you finish the campaign, or during it, you can replay a previous level in order to complete achievements or make coins to buy upgrades that will make your journey easier. This has a major role in achievement hunting.
The graphics are not to shabby. The game boasts with it's glorious fully pixel art style. Each map has unique characteristics and visuals, from thematic hazards to animated pixel art sprites placed strategically in the background. All the maps look so different, you'll never get bored of them. It’s like a vibrant medieval world made out of pixels.
The game is definitely a must play for shoot’em up lovers. It offers a lot for its 6.99€ base price. Linear difficulty progression, open-world styled instances, potion buffs and duel boss fights are what define the game in its full glory.