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Quick Review: Mamotte Knight

It begins with a dusty cartridge, a scenario so many of us know all too well. After blowing into the game cartridge a few times, this spit-lubricated technology makes its way back into the game slot and flicks on. Overwhelming retro nostalgia bursts to the screen; Mamotte Knight is way pixelated and is proud of it. Cut to the main menu.

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DEFEAT FUCKING GOBLINS!” yells the princess.

Well, OK.

That sets about the right tone for Mamotte Knight. Developer Ancient (Beyond Oasis) have collaborated with videogame music composer Yuzo Kushiro (Shenmue) and have set out to make a four-player, retro styled tower – or in this case, princess – defense game. It’s almost redundant to say, but the end goal of each round is to rescue the pri – ah, forget it.

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Towers can be built through material harvested by busting dude’s skulls open in the name of all that is retro and blocky-headed. The more monsters juggled into a single combo, the higher number of hearts the princess exudes in admiration, and the more the player’s able to build barricades and upgrade them from simple fences into bastilles and finally manual catapults to help take out pesky larger units.

A four player game, Mamotte Knight’s at its best in local co-op, where it comes much more naturally keeping up the structures of the castle from on the outside. Though playing solo leaves things feeling a bit hectic, that’s partially the intent in cupping these tight short bits together. Drawing from other quick, one-off type RPGs, like Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax, Mamotte Knight finds its identity in its rampant use of chip tune overtures and pixel art so nice it apologizes to your eyes for being so beautiful.

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All four of the playable characters feel totally unique and have their own memorable sets of attacks, with a ninja fading in and out of the shadows and planting decoy dummies to run around the level, while the younger female character fuses up-close flame-thrower attacks with long distance energy matter missiles – or something… Whoever you’re playing as, there’s a nice feeling of progression to racking up the unlocks and the game’s a whole lot of fun to keep playing through, even after completion. It’s really designed for this – seemingly too short if taken at face value – but plenty long once you’ve tried everything out and maxed out levels.

There’s simplicity to it that’s pretty good but also a slight depth that’s even a bit nicer. Mamotte Knight is a bit of a slow burn, but it’s a fantastic Xbox Live Indie Game – the kind of top-notch content that must get buried regularly, or at least as often as they come out, with their quirky Japanese titles. Mamotte Knight only goes by the Japanese title, ‘まもって騎士‘, on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and if you weren’t looking for it specifically, there’s really no good way of finding content like this on the service.

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Give it a try; it’s well worth the 240 MSP and if nothing else, it’s something eccentric to play in-between the norm.

まもって騎士 on Xbox.com.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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