knight-squad-an-indie-gem

I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of the game Knight Squad before. It’s quite an obscure game I guess. Having only been released digitally on Xbox One and PC back in 2015.

More people should know about it though, because it can be a blast to play with friends. I can’t promise you will still be friends with them after playing it, however.

It’s also worth noting that it was included at one point in the Games with Gold program (GWG) on Xbox One. Which is how I found out about and got playing Knight Squad.

Stay until the end of this piece for some questions and answers with the developer of Knight Squad, Chainsawesome Games.

What Is Knight Squad?

If you’re unfamiliar with the game you may be wondering, what is Knight Squad? Well to answer your question, I would describe it as a top-down multiplayer-focused arena showdown. Where up to 8 players and or bots take control of knights and battle it out while picking up weapons and power-ups over a variety of game modes on a variety of maps.

I will say that you pretty much need to play with friends who you can communicate with, either in person or online. This way, Knight Squad reaches its full potential in my opinion. If I’m honest I would describe it as a party game.

Ways to Play Knight Squad

Knight squad offers multiple game modes that will work your friends group into a frenzy. From multiplayer staples such as Capture the Flag (CTF) to more unusual modes such as soccer, the latter of which sees two teams attempting to put a ball into the other team’s goal, while killing each other repeatedly.

The other game modes on offer are:

Gladiator. A Free-for-all (FFA) king of the hill but you also get points for kills.

Capture the Grail. Which is basically FFA one flag CTF.

Team Deathmatch. I don’t need to explain this one, do I?

Last Man Standing. No respawn FFA, first player to win a certain amount of rounds by being the last alive, wins the match. (A personal favourite of mine)

Crystal Rush. Two teams are tasked with destroying the other team’s crystals with a drill (a weapon/tool that spawns and can be picked up). First team to destroy all of the opposition’s crystals wins.

Domination. Think Domination from something like Call of Duty or Battlefield and you get the idea.

Juggernaut. Alright, this one sounds a little crazy. One player who is the juggernaut has to survive and kill the other players who must take the juggernaut down, and become the juggernaut themselves. “That doesn’t sound crazy” I hear you say. Well, what if I told you the juggernaut gets a minigun that never needs reloading? I remember a friend telling me about the minigun and I thought they were joking, until we spawned in and I realized it was the truth.

All of these game modes feature weapon and power-up spawns that will leave players scrambling for the best items. For example a ridable Horse, Laser Gun or Ripper (a gun which fires a buzz saw that bounces around the map killing anyone in its path).

Knight Squad does have challenges that can be tackled either alone or with other players, but to be honest they are forgettable. The competitive multiplayer is the meat and potatoes here.

Passion and Charm

Chainsawesome Games clearly had passion for this project. And because of this, Knight Squad can ooze charm at times. Things like the character selection screen show this off.

At the start of each game, players are required to pick a different knight. Each is a different colour and has a unique animation when selected.

The orange knight called Shooter (my main) throws his sword in the air and shoots it with finger guns. The purple knight called Solo busts out a sweet guitar solo on his sword. And something as badass as a sword solo is something I’m not gonna question, okay?

The knights don’t affect gameplay but their names and animations show the love put into the game.

Another touch I like is when you collect two horse pick-ups and your steed will turn into a majestic beast aka unicorn, which comes complete with rainbow trails. And will be a trusty companion in your slaughtering escapades. I also found out that it has its own song.

I don’t think anyone would really notice or complain if quirks like the ones mentioned where absent. But the fact they are in the game makes it even more of a pleasure to play.

Knight Squad also got a DLC pack released featuring new knights and game modes. It’s good to see a more obscure title not getting forgotten, by being supported post-launch.

When Friends Become Enemies

If you want to test your friendship among your group of buddies, then boot up Knight Squad, and let the chaos and saltiness begin.

Weapon/pick-up spawns will have players shouting luck, 1v1s will get hearts pounding, lose the game and someone gets the blame, and alliances will be broken as easily as they are made.

Knight Squad isn’t a super tuned and balanced Esports game, it’s a fun frenzy that can sometimes provide moments of cheese in all of the havoc. For instance, spawn trapping is something that can happen, and if it does occur, you may have to reevaluate your comradery with certain people, whichever side of the spawn trap you’re on.

But this is why I believe Knight Squad is so fun and why at the end of the day, it isn’t taken that seriously, with all of that beef you had during the game laughed at later.

The Gem We Need

I hope that you will give Knight Squad a try after reading this. Especially if you downloaded it during its stint on GWG but never played it. Don’t let such a fun game reside in your ‘ready to install’ for eternity.

Knight Squad may not be the most in-depth experience or the most massive spectacle on the market, but it may just provide you with the most memories.

Whether those are of you basking in the glory of your Last Man Standing victory as you proclaim your dominance over your mates, that cross-map ripper bank shot that left one of said mates raging or maybe that moment where you rage quit after being teamed up on.

Regardless of what I remember about this game, regardless of its moments of happiness or its moments of salt, it leaves a smile on my face. And that is something special and is why Knight Squad is not just a gem of a game but the gem we need.

FYI if you do play Knight Squad, enter the Konami Code on the menu for a special unlock.

Interview with Chainsawesome Games

I wanted to get more of an insight into Knight Squad and how the game came to be. So I contacted Chainsawsome Games and asked some questions.

Chainsawesome Games were super cool in answering my questions, both the more serious ones and the less serious ones.

So without further ado here’s what I asked and the replies I got.

How did the idea of Knight Squad come about?

“We participated in a Game Jam back in 2013 and we made the prototype for KS in 48 hours.”

“Our inspiration was Bomberman mostly but we REALLY wanted to make a game for 8 players.”

How Long did Knight Squad take to develop?

“It took roughly 18 months.”

How hectic were the playtests? Any rage quits?

“Of course! We knew right from the start that this game would make friends shout at each other and rage. It was the case when people played the Game Jam prototype.”

What was the reaction to having a Knight using a minigun?

“People LOVED it. It’s just so silly.”

Does the horse/unicorn have a name?

“It does not, but it has a song:”

Do you think we will ever see a sequel?

“We don’t know. We want to revisit that universe one day but we wouldn’t know exactly how. Do you have suggestions for things to add in a sequel?”

A big thank you to Chainsawesome Games and Laurent Mercure (Communications Officer at Chainsawesome Games) for being so awesome and taking the time to answer my questions. Especially given the current circumstances.

If you want to see what else Chainsawesome Games have been up to, then you can check out their website.