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Wind-up Knight 2

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad


Product: Wind-up Knight 2 | Developer: Robot Invader | Publisher: Robot Invader | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Endless running, Platform | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Wind-up Knight 2 iPhone, thumbnail 1
There's a whole lot of care and attention to detail in Wind-up Knight 2. From the social media parody to the top-flight presentation and the finely crafted levels, everything about this release demonstrates the love that developer Robot Invader clearly has for the world it has created.

However, that love comes at a high price. While the initial download is free, the IAP for the full game costs an eyebrow-raising £5.99.

This is especially surprising given that the game is essentially an auto-runner, and you can generally pick these up for not very much money at all. And even after you've forked out for that there's still the option to purchase more currency for high-end items.

The side quests ask you to complete levels under special conditions, such as not hurting enemies

Let's forget about money for the time being, though.

Wind-up Knight 2
is a totally brilliant little auto-runner. You play as the eponymous hero - a small metal chap who is on a quest to save a princess, avoiding various perils along the way.

He runs forward automatically, and you must ensure he jumps over chasms, blocks falling objects, rolls under spikes, and hits any enemies that stand in his way. Without any special equipment, it only takes one hit to scupper your run, at which point you're returned to the last checkpoint to try again.

IAPs explained
To get the full game you must pay for the Unlock Map IAP, as any areas past level 7 are inaccessible. There's a special offer that cuts the price of the game drastically, but it means buying the game within a very short time of playing into the game for the first time. If you do get it quick enough, it'll cost you £2.49 / $3.99, if not you'll be charged £5.99 / $8.99.

Once you've coughed up your full entry fee, Coins are available to purchase, starting at £1.49 / $1.99. You do earn them gradually through regular play, but if you want access to the very best equipment you'll want to consider plonking down some cash.
This happens often, primarily because the game is hard. This is an auto-runner in the vein of Bit.Trip Run! rather than Running With Friends, and part of the enjoyment is learning to pull off the feats of gaming prestidigitation required to beat a level.

Yet there are a couple of unfair deaths to be experienced too. You'll occasionally prod the wrong virtual button on the touchscreen, for example, because the areas of input for each pair of buttons are next to one another.

But more than this, upcoming hazards can be obscured by a camera that dithers at exactly the wrong moments. Perhaps this is a deliberate part of the design, perhaps it's not, but either way it has the effect of forcing you to learn stages, when you'd rather be learning skills.

What's faultless is the world all of this takes place in: Wind-up Knight 2 looks smashing and has a smart sense of humour.

Each world is a different fairytale fantasy theme full of detail and colour and life, and the protagonist clops along with a mix of fluidity and rigidity you'd expect from a top class animation of a mechanical man.

Wind-up Knight 2's influences are clear, here seen in an unlockable light trail

But the masterstroke is the Twitter-alike, called Ravens. Popping up before you begin each level, it's a social feed pastiche, filled with musings and conversations with the land's inhabitants.

The Princess is a kick-ass diva, Stan the Man is shamelessly and constantly seeking her attention, and her father, Hercule IV, is your typical dad on Twitter, misunderstanding how @ mentions work, participating in obviously fake charity retweet drives, and using the most cringeworthy hashtags this side of #blessed.

The game captures social media stereotypes brilliantly, and every single time I start a level I'll read each one of these tweets (or squawks, or chirps, or whatever they're actually called).

So Wind-up Knight 2 is stylish, plays well, and has plenty of variety in its challenges and side quests.

But there's always a troubling feeling while you're playing that you've paid full whack for a game that, while very good, still has a few imperfections, and still costs significantly more than the competition.

If you think nothing of dropping a decent amount of money on a premium release, then you won't be disappointed by Wind-up Knight 2. But if like me you're always after a bargain, commit to the full entry fee early (see the IAP section for details), or wait for a price cut.
Wind-up Knight 2
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 14 April 2014
You absolutely must see what Wind-up Knight 2 has to offer, but whether you'll want to commit to the full version or not largely depends on how much you want to play another (very highly polished) auto-runner
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