Wind-up Knight 2 (Free) by Robot Invader is the gorgeous sequel to the original platformer game that came out back in 2011. If you enjoy challenging platformers, then you will absolutely love what Wind-up Knight 2 has to offer.
I grew up with platformer games, so it’s only natural that I just have an affinity for them. No matter what the system, just show me a platformer, and chances are I’m all over it (if I can, anyway). It’s been a while since I’ve played a great platformer on iOS, so I was intrigued with Wind-up Knight 2 — the original was a game that I ended up downloading, but never really got a chance to playing through fully (as is the case with so many other games and apps). However, I’ve spent some time with WUK2, and it’s quite a delightful, challenging little game.
The graphics in WUK2 are absolutely beautiful. If you played the original WUK, think of the graphics amplified by 10. This little platformer game looks like a console game, and it definitely plays like one too. The environments that your little knight will run through look vibrant, detailed, and lush — there is not a single thing in the stages that doesn’t look great. Along with the surroundings, the character models, from your knight to the various enemies that you’ll encounter, are rendered perfectly, and all animations are smooth and fluid. I also enjoy the music that plays in the background, as well as the various sound effects that you’ll hear as you run, jump, and slash your way through to the end — it’s all incredibly satisfying.
The game has a ton of levels to go through, but you’ll have to go through them one-at-a-time, of course. I’m unsure of the total number of levels that the game has (I purchased the full game via in-app purchase), but I know that the levels are difficult enough that it may take you quite some time to get through them all anyway. Each level will have the main objective to complete, which is to get to the end. You earn a grade depending on how well you did during that run, and you get the best grade when you collect all coins, earn S-Rank, and don’t restart at any checkpoints. However, there are three side quests that you can undertake on each as well, which will make you think outside the helmet to complete, so to speak.
The controls in the game are pretty simple, but will take some time to master. Your wind-up knight will run automatically, so you don’t need to worry about that. You do, however, need to help him maneuver through all of the dangers that he will run into along the way. The button on the far right allows you to jump, and the button adjacent to it will have your knight attack by slashing in front of him with his sword. On the left, you will have buttons for using your shield for cover from projectiles, and then you can roll through crevices.
While the controls are simple enough, it is taking me quite some time to get used to them. Perhaps it’s because I end up panicking when I’m in certain situations, but I end up pressing the wrong action button quite often, which leads me to my ugly demise. Prepare to spend a lot of time getting used to the controls, as well as dying a lot — that’s all I can really say about that. This is the epitome of simple to learn, difficult to master for me.
Along the way, you will encounter many new gameplay mechanics, such as Bouncy Pads, Ice Blocks, Warps, and more. These will all add a fresh new element to the game, but can also make it more difficult to get to your goal. Either way, it’s refreshing, and the extra difficulty involved with these new mechanics is appreciated.
If you played the original WUK, you will remember that there were no checkpoints in the stages, so if you died, you’d have to start over from the beginning. Fortunately, this is rectified in WUK2, as each stage will have several checkpoints, meaning you will restart at the last one you reached if you die.
Since your character is a wind-up toy, you will be running on a limited charge. Keep an eye on your charge gauge in the top left, and make sure to refill it by collecting the wind-up keys that are scattered throughout the stage. If you run out, your little automaton will explode, and you’ll need to start over or at the last checkpoint.
Upon completion of each level, you will earn gold coins, which include the ones you collect in each run. These can be used in the shop to get upgrades for your knight, including weapons, armor, helmets, and shields. Each item will have their own unique abilities, such as turning enemies into stone with the Medusa Shield, shooting missiles when attacking with the Durendal Blade, being protected from falling objects once per life with the Stunt Helm, slowing the entire game down with the Tortoise Armor, and more. A lot of these items will cost quite a bit, so you’ll need to spend a good amount of time grinding through stages to earn the coin to buy them. But as you will want to try and complete all objectives anyway for the perfect grade, I suppose it works out in the end.
If you don’t feel like grinding your way through to get coins, you can purchase coins through in-app purchases. You can also unlock the full game through IAP, which I recommend doing, because the game is amazing.
WUK2 is great for competitive people as well. There is full Game Center integration for leaderboards (gems) and 34 achievements. However, it doesn’t stop there — WUK2 features a full Tournament Mode if you really want to up the ante with your friends. This mode will feature a different daily challenge every day, and you must get as far as you can with only a single life. This is pretty insane, and anyone who loves to be ambitious with their gaming friends will love having this mode around.
So far, even though I’m dying quite a lot, Wind-up Knight 2 is very enjoyable. I love the exquisite graphics, the charming music and sounds, simple controls (just a matter of remembering which button does what at the right times), and the very difficult platforming gameplay — having a challenge always makes the end result much more gratifying. I just wish that the items you can buy for your knight weren’t so expensive.
If you’re looking for a fun little platformer to check out, then I highly recommend getting Wind-up Knight 2, and purchasing the full game (there are special offers to get it for a discounted price for a limited time in-game). Download it on the App Store as a universal app for free.