Knytt Stories – The Tower by Zetim

Official Site || Level Archive

To be entirely honest, this level is here almost entirely for the sake of my personal nostalgia as it’s one of the first Knytt Stories levels I ever played, the earliest one I can remember playing in fact though I’m sure it wasn’t actually the first one I tried. Without The Tower, I very well may not have ended up writing these articles on Knytt Stories levels so it would be a shame to ignore it. That said, there are some serious design issues here. The very first real area of the game is a dark cave underneath the tower filled with foreground and background elements which deliberately blend in with the actual platforms and hidden spikes are everywhere. Things don’t get any better after that as the very next area is a massive maze which poses little danger beyond a few pools of water and goes on for a ridiculously long amount of time. Most of the other segments of the tower are likewise filled with surprise spikes on nearly every surface, there are far too many pixel-perfect jumps, you can reach ‘void’ screens from certain places, and checkpoints are scattered around haphazardly, sometimes appearing immediately after each other and other times being far too far apart.

With all that in mind, this level does have its positive aspects. For a start, the drawings on the story screens have an unusually large amount of effort put into them, immediately making the level seem full of appealing potential. The tower also does give off the impression of being legitimately massive and imposing; from the multi-screen drop off of your landing platform at the start to the slow ascent up and across the tower, there is no denying that this location has a grand sense of scale. While the tower is split up into largely linear regions, there is still a sense of exploration to the level as it is up to players to figure out just where they can actually go to make progress with their current abilities. Speaking of abilities, the game also does a great job of making each ability feel like a well-deserved reward and every new region is filled with challenges which push the newest ability’s benefits to their limits.The level design can sometimes feel overly malicious and at other times just not very well thought out, but I still love the sense of scale and adventure here and anyone looking for a challenge may very well want to seek this level out.

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