I spent a good amount of my childhood growing up in a small town and would regularly play outside and go adventuring. Many of you perhaps did the same thing where you would get together with a friend and just go exploring and have your own little adventures. That is basically what developer Foam Sword Game’s newest game Knights and Bikes is all about.
Knights and Bikes is a co-op action-adventure title that you can play with another player locally, online or even play alone with the CPU. For this review I played through the entire game with my wife but I did spend some time playing a bit of it alone after completion to see how the CPU performed. One of the most distinctive things about Knights and Bikes is the visual style and if it reminds you at all of games like LittleBigPlanet or Tearaway that’s because the two man team over at Foam Sword Games are former Media Molecule developers. This game is full of things that will put a smile on your face much like the games these two developers worked on while at Media Molecule.
The story in Knights and Bikes takes place in the 80’s on the fictional British island known as Penfurzy and focuses on two girls named Demelza and Nessa. Delmelza has been living on this island with her dad while Nessa arrives on the island after stowing away on a boat. Demelza really hasn’t had other kids to play with so when she meets Nessa the two become friends pretty quickly. Demelza learns from her father that the caravan park they run isn’t doing so well so the two girls set out to find some hidden treasure somewhere on the island in order to save the park. Their bond throughout the game is what my wife and I really enjoyed so much about this game. Just watching the two girls pet a goose, race each other, play games together, and more was very charming and endearing throughout our play session. The game is quite emotional too as you find that both of the girls are dealing with some serious issues so despite those fun things going on you know a lot is riding on this adventure of theirs.
The game isn’t just fun and games all the time though as you’ll have to solve puzzles and engage in combat with enemies at times too. Both Demelza and Nessa each have different abilities that they gain in the game that can be used in these puzzles and combat scenarios. Demelza can kick foes and has a plunger that can be used to rip shields away from them while Nessa can use a frisbee to throw at enemies, water balloons to put out fire, or a boombox’s soundwaves to push clouds that are blocking your path out of the way. Nothing in this game is really difficult whether it be the fights or the puzzle solving and I feel like that was OK for us. Some people might grow a little bored by not being challenged but my wife and I were always driven to see what we would encounter next.
Exploring the island itself is also fun with lots of different people to talk to and hidden items to seek out and collect. We spent a lot of time just riding around on our bicycles which you can also customize to your liking and upgrade. Upgrades can be bought with currency such as worms and cards among other things. It’s a bit silly but it just adds to the charm of this game. I did mention how I played a bit of the game a second time to see how the CPU performed and in my experience it did a pretty good job. You are able to switch back and forth between the two girls when playing alone but the CPU is a welcome partner. I just think that the game is best played with another person to get the most out of it as you don’t quite get that same joy out of it when playing alone.
I said it at the beginning of this review but the visual style of this game is one of the most distinctive things about it. It really fits that child atmosphere that the rest of the game is full of. Whether it be the painting like visuals or the animations of the the characters everything is well done visually. The game has great music and sound effects too like the ones the girls make while running around. The game has a ton of trophies to earn including a Platinum trophy if you get all the others. You’ll get them for things like completing every day in the game, finding so many of certain items, and other miscellaneous things. It’s a very achievable platinum that’s for sure.
I would say if Foam Sword Games mission was to deliver a game that gave you that feeling of being a child again and going on imaginative adventures than they succeeded with Knights and Bikes. Everything from the visual style, to the story, music, and things you are doing in the game nail that feeling so well. You won’t be challenged in this game but you’ll walk away with plenty of smiles and fond memories, especially if you play it with a friend.
*Knights and Bikes is available now on PlayStation 4 and PC. Reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.