Videogame Verdict: ‘Knights in the Nightmare’ Mini-Review

There are a ton of games coming out this holiday season and I’ve only got so much time on my hands. As a result, I’ll be bringing you a series of mini-reviews – as many as I can – highlighting the biggest games of the season, as well as some of the ones you might have overlooked. We’re starting out with a PSP game that absolutely blows my mind called ‘Knights in the Nightmare’.

Knights in the Nightmare‘ is a game that defies genres, or rather defies the conventions of genres. It mixes the normally very rigid tactical RPG genre with the bullet-hell shooter and sprinkles a little bit of tower defense in for good measure. It’s absolutely nuts and an essential for fans of original games.

Like many of the most interesting games in the last few years, ‘Knights in the Nightmare’ is published in the U.S. by Atlus. It was developed by Sting, known recently for the game ‘Yggdra Union: We’ll Never Fight Alone’, which comes free with every copy of ‘Knights in the Nightmare’.

The gameplay in ‘Knights in the Nightmare’ is difficult to explain. You control a wisp which in turn controls your army. It’s a little like ‘Final Fantasy Tactics’ in the layout of the battlefield and specialized job classes, but is also reminiscent of a tower defense game in that most of your attackers are static and don’t move around the board much.

It’s also part bullet-hell, which is where things really get interesting. You’ve got a limited amount of time to give commands to your units. If your wisp gets hit by an enemy attack, you lose some of that time. Enemies have different attacks that fill the screen, leaving you to try to dodge while simultaneously giving commands to your troops.

Playing ‘Knights in the Nightmare’ is one of the most hectic gaming experiences I’ve had recently, but once you get into the swing of things, it all starts to make sense.

One of the major flaws in the game, which some may find welcome, is that lack of instructions. There’s a full tutorial, but it comes off a bit lacking and doesn’t entirely prepare you for the battles ahead. If it were implemented in the actual game the way ‘Disgaea’ does, ramping up difficulty as things move along, it would be a lot easier to grasp.

The other problem with ‘Knights in the Nightmare’ is one that will be familiar to fans of strategy RPGs. Once you’ve completed the first few missions, you end up with an overwhelming array of characters, weapons and items without much helpful information on what to do with them all.

There’s a bit of a learning curve, to be sure, but ‘Knights in the Nightmare’ is one of those rare games that separates itself out as different from the rest. It’s like nothing you’ve ever played before.

I had quite a bit of fun with ‘Knights in the Nightmare’ and will likely pick it back up to finish once the holidays are over. If you’re a strategy fan, a bullet-hell fan, or you just want to try something that’s unlike anything else, ‘Knights in the Nightmare’ is well worth picking up.

‘Knights in the Nightmare’ is available now at a price of $29.99 from Amazon or from the PlayStation Network. For a limited time, if you purchase ‘Knights in the Nightmare’, you’ll also get a free digital copy of the well received ‘Yggdra Union’.

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