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Note: “Beneath” is not on Knytt Levels, but can be found as part of a bundle of stages posts in this thread on the official Knytt Stories forums: http://nifflas.lpchip.nl/index.php?topic=6070.0
Here it is, the very first set of Knytt Stories stages covered on Indie Overlook! There’s no particular theme here this time around, though I did try to avoid any of especially lengthy stages for this first group in order to better show off the typical Knytt Stories experience from beginning to end (though “The World has changed” was still long enough that I split it into two videos, the second of which can be found on my YouTube channel). I’ll be trying to keep things short this time around so, without further ado, let’s begin today’s list of games with:
Realms of the Pharaoh by ozz
This one is an old favorite of mine and may very well be the stage I enjoy the most out of these three. It’s a rather straightforward and short stage, but it gives the impression of being bigger and more maze-like on your first time through. Warps are used to create a light and dark world mechanic and you travel between the two worlds a good number of times. If there is one downside here, it’s the fact that the somewhat hidden ‘dark world’ ending doesn’t take any particularly large amount of extra effort to reach and also doesn’t have much in the way of any sort of payoff. On the other hand, checkpoints are distributed well, the platforming is kept to short, varied segments, and backtracking is, for the most part, kept to a minimum.
The World has changed by Ogrewithstick
Here is the most ambitious, and certainly the longest, one of the three. “The World has changed” is a story about an enormous, technologically-advanced structure which has suddenly appeared in the world. Though there are a good number of NPC’s in the game, the majority of the storytelling concerning the nature of this mysterious machine is done through the environment itself. Exploration is probably the largest factor here, though there is a good bit of tricky platforming along the way. Unfortunately, this stage might be the most ambitious of these three, but it is also the most flawed. Checkpointing is wildly inconsistent as you will sometimes have to go through entire sections without a single checkpoint along the way, yet at other times checkpoints will be present in neighboring rooms; one rather easy room near the end even has two checkpoints in it! For a stage focused around exploring, it can also be alarmingly easy to find yourself in the swirling placeholder void, such as I had done no less than three times while looking around for secrets. Finally, the ending is alarmingly abrupt, though, as I never found the blue key in my playthrough (if it exists) and failed to find any sort of use for the yellow key, there very well may be an alternate ending or some form of important exposition which I missed along the way.
Beneath by William Vaughan (wva)
Our final stage for today’s group is significantly different from the other two. Platforming and exploration are both present to a small degree, but the main thing here is the atmosphere and the sense of mystery it evokes. Juni’s journey through this seemingly-deserted desert structure contains a large number of long, empty hallways which help to emphasize the sheer size of the place. Visual elements along the way, such as a strange greenhouse and the ever-present slime creatures within the walls, break up the monotony of the corridors and help to further build up the mysterious surrounding the place. There is a rather lengthy backtracking segment near the end which gets tedious, but “Beneath” otherwise keeps up a good sense of pacing and atmosphere for the majority of its short duration.