Knytt Underground was released for multiple platforms (including how I played, on the PSVita) just before 2013. It was created by Nicklas Nygren, or Nifflas, and published by Ripstone Games. The game has a great aesthetic throughout. the foreground is all black, creating parts of the game you can interact with. Most things that are black you can either walk on or climb. The beauty is in the background with scenic images of nature. Trees, flowers and even radiant color-scapes are all easy on the eyes.
Knytt Underground is a 2D platformer with lots of problem solving, hidden items and no weapons. The player can die, or dissolve into a bright mist, but there are instant respawns and no limit. The progression of the game is lead by the player with over 1800 rooms to discover. There are tips here and there as you interact with characters but there’s no flashing indicator of what direction you have to take. I appreciate the free will take as far as game progression is concerned. It’s at my pace, and almost free roam as you can do multiple side quests along with a core quest.
During the game you play as two characters… kind of. The first is a sprite, Mi, who is mute. She’s an adventurous spelunker and likes finding “human artifacts”. The second character is a ball. The ball bounces and can use robots in some of the rooms to get around. It might seem strange to think about for a second but later there’s a reason for it. The game is set in a sort of post human world where Sprites and Fairies are trying to interpret the meaning and the value of human artifacts. The commentary is more like a societal mirror making us look at our own interactions with each-other, our religions, morality and what we perceive as having value.
Overall, this is a Keep. The replay ability isn’t huge but if you ever wanted a virtual cleanse while still being entertained with gameplay, Knytt Underground is the game to do it with. I usually get stressed out over games, and while this has is moments of frustration it generally evokes a kind of meditative state. Gorgeous screenshots don’t hurt either. I would compare this to the visual gratification you get from playing a game like Pixel Junk’s Eden. The floral is always swayed by a gentle breeze, never stagnant. It’s a nice balance to the awkwardly sized, quirky characters. The only real criticism I have for this game is that the conversations between characters all read like they are written by the same person. This gives it a little less dimension as far as immersion into the game. Other than that minor detail, I love Knytt Underground.