I’m typically not a fan of early-access type mobile and PC games, as more often than not, the format is used to peddle broken and incomplete games, passing them off as complete products.
Limitless LLC’s action platformer “Apple Knight” is arguably still in that state, but the levels it does offer are tightly-crafted experiences reminiscent of good Super Nintendo levels rather than something that is unfit for consumers.
It also helps that it is free.
The game is available for both PC and Mobile, with the PC version being ready to play right in your browser like flash games of old. The game has in-app purchases, but you don’t need to buy anything as of yet to complete the game, as effective items that enhance gameplay are within your reach by grinding for a few hours.
You play as the titular Apple Knight, Agastia (the boy version of the main character) or Amaya (the girl version of the main character), who has no dialogue, no grand quest; they’re just out to explore the world of the game, get loot, upgrade their gear, and fight a boss or two. It’s a game in the purest sense, designed to be something that you play in bursts in your free time.
The game has three difficulty modes: Story (You get two checkpoints every level, with unlimited lives) Casual (two checkpoints and three lives per level) and Hard (No checkpoints and one life per level; with the level restarting after death). I initially played the game on Casual, but there are several points where the game gets finicky and requires precise maneuvers (which don’t bode well as the game has on-screen buttons), so I switched to Story a few levels in, and the game was engaging and fun.
The game’s biggest strong suit is its level design, though it is sometimes foiled by its use of on-screen buttons. The game wants you to pay attention to your surroundings and pull off complex inputs at times, which isn’t always possible seeing as you don’t have physical buttons to grip onto. “Apple Knight” would feel right at home on the Nintendo Switch among its library of likewise faux-retro indie games.
The game’s upgrade system is also pretty admirable, with just about 80 percent of its weapons, skins (which aren’t just cosmetic; they have special stats and abilities) and magical abilities being unlockable by collecting treasure throughout the game. And if you don’t want to grind, you need only watch ads to get 200 coins per watch, which can add up fast, cutting out much of what would otherwise be the same grindy bullshit we see in virtually every other mobile game used to pad out gameplay time while psychologically pressuring players to drop real cash on in-game purchases.
There are some skins and items you can only buy for real money in the game, though they only apply to game-breaking uber-powerful items. The game also effectively balances the ads that pop up in the game, as unskippable 30-second ads only pop up when the player voluntarily chooses to watch one in exchange for 200 in-game coins, with skippable ads appearing only when you complete a level, which is a nuisance, but a tolerable nuisance.
So many games devalue their ads by not putting unskippable ads in their proper place (voluntary, reward scenarios only), allowing them to dominate gameplay and essentially annoy players into avoiding the game. It is refreshing to have a game that leaves this toxic stuff at the door and just focuses on being a good game.
So far, it’s worth a play, though there is currently only 25 levels split into three 1/2 worlds — with a promise of there being four — which equates to two boss fights and 23 dungeon levels. Even though what levels there are are extremely polished, it’s hard to look at this game as anything more than a Beta right now.
Maybe this will change — it seems like Limitless is committed to updating this game, as it’s most recent update was Monday — but until more levels are added, expect to play this game for about a day and a half.
“Apple Knight” gets a 7/10 as a Beta.
“Apple Knight” gets a 4/10 as a like a full game.