Xbox Live Indie Games: Protect Me Knight
I’ve been talking about old games a lot on this site, which concerns me a little. I don’t just play old games. I also play new old games.
The bottomless pit of bewilderment that is the Xbox Live Indie Games service for the Xbox 360 recently saw the release of the best new old game I’ve played since Streemerz Rearmed — Protect Me Knight. If you haven’t bought it already, you should do so right now. It’s $3, and it’s great.
(For some reason, it’s listed in the U.S. store under its Japanese title — まもって騎士 — so you’ll need to sort the Indie Games category by title and scroll down to the bottom to find it. You can also queue up a remote download from its marketplace page.)
Protect Me Knight is the first XBL Indie Game from Ancient, a small studio managed by game soundtrack composer Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage, Etrian Odyssey, Ys…and, like, a billion other games). The premise is summed up on the title screen: “DEFEAT F$%KIN’ GOBLINS!” Choosing one of four characters, you’ll spend ten stages carving your way through thousands of monsters who want to get all up in your princess.
Protect Me Knight has been described as a tower defense game, but that’s inaccurate, because it’s not totally boring. It plays more like a mix of Rampart, Gauntlet, and…I don’t know, Arkista’s Ring, or something. There’s a minimum amount of strategy involved in fortifying your defenses, but you’ll spend the bulk of your time doing fun stuff like beating up monsters, upgrading your character’s stats, and racking up huge combos.
Be warned: Protect Me Knight is only at its most fun when you have more than one person playing. The difficulty scales to suit how many people are playing, and the action gets intense when you’ve got a three- or four-player co-op game going.
The game’s still a whole lot of fun even with just two people, but if you don’t have anyone else to play with, you’re not going to get a lot of mileage out of the single-player mode. It’s still fun, mind. It’s just not super insane fun, like it is with two players or more.
Things I like about Protect Me Knight:
– The ninja’s special ability, which summons a wandering clone of the princess to attract and kill nearby monsters.
The attack has a chance of failure, though, in which case you’ll have a tubby droopy-eyed princess stumbling around the battlefield, fooling no one.
– The broken English, which is obviously intentional, but still hilarious.
– The music, which is composed by Koshiro himself, and is completely excellent. It’s times like these when I wish I knew musical terms, so that I could explain how great it is and not sound like an idiot. Instead, I’ll just tell you that it perfectly captures “that spooky bass thing” that NES games do to create suspenseful music, and I like it.
– The boxart, which emulates the style of an ’80s-era Famicom game and its U.S. release at the same time.
– The .gifs at Ancient’s Japanese blog.
– Ancient’s description of itself in the attract mode:
FINAL VERDICT: There are currently 1,023 Indie Games available at the Xbox Live Marketplace. Protect Me Knight is better than every single one of them.