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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sweet Victory: New App Game — Muffin Knight

Courtesy Angry Mob Games
Muffin Knight (for iPhone and iPad)

You’d be hard-pressed to find two words that sound more intriguing together than “muffin” and “knight.” But the new app game, Muffin Knight, has appeal beyond its spectacular title. The game’s wonderfully ridiculous background story surrounds a hungry young boy who tries to snatch a baked treat from the picnic basket of an indisposed fairy. The enchanted muffins end up scattered across the world and the repentant boy (i.e., you) is charged with the task of recovering them. But this is no task for an average little boy — there are all sorts of terrifying creatures between you and those cakey treasures, like sheep and turtles — so the fairy magically provides you with a host of battle-ready alter egos. Each time you collect a muffin, you randomly switch personalities. You may go from being a knight to a dragon, a wizard to a grizzly bear, a shotgun-toting gnome to a unicorn that poops explosive rainbows (Did I mention that some of the humor is pretty juvenile?). 

So much about Muffin Knight, from the squat Bubble Bobble-esque characters to the floating-platform level design, feels very old school. With all the on-your-toes quick turns you need to pull off, you almost wish you had a joystick in your hands. Anyone who’s ever stood in an arcade playing Joust or Dig-Dug is bound to get a blast of nostalgia from it. Especially when you enter the two-player dueling mode. You can compete with a friend via local WiFi, or get matched with a random, anonymous player online. Whoever grabs the most muffins wins.

There is a bit of a role-playing-game aspect to Muffin Knight — as you play, the points you collect will earn you more characters and the ability to upgrade the powers of those characters — but casual players shouldn’t let that scare them away. That whole feature is handled through an incredibly simple interface. And even if you were so addicted to the gameplay that you completely forgot about leveling up, it wouldn’t be much of a problem. Also, while this app (like oh-so many others) offers the opportunity to buy points via an in-app purchase, you don’t need to: Keep playing and you’ll earn enough points on your own to upgrade those characters nicely for nothing beyond the very reasonable 99¢ price tag.

Best for: App gamers who are not offended by manure bombs or acid-puking zombies; fans of SpongeBob or Ren & Stimpy; old mall arcade denizens who are now looking for a game they might be able to beat their kids at 

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