Protect Me Knight With Friends

Review of まもって騎士 on XBLIG: Buy
A throwback to the days of coin-op arcades, Protect Me Knight is good ol’e multiplayer fun!

まもって騎士 is pronounced “Mamotte kishi” loosely translates to “Knights guarded”.   Developer ANCxna (the XBLIG name for Yuzo Koshiro’s development studio, Ancient) helps us out by putting “Protect Me Knight” on the cover, and it’s a fitting title.   The goal of the game is to protect the princess from the monster hoard and see her safe passage back to the castle.  Even though the title is in Japanese, all relevant information to playing the game is in English.

There are four Knights to choose from.  A mage, an amazon, a fighter, and a ninja may not be your typical knight roster, but the four classes hold their own against the creatures of hell.  Each class has a basic melee attack and a ranged special attack.  As the knights move through levels they earn hearts based upon performance that can be spent to upgrade abilities and stats.  These upgrades are more than just damage increases, by the end of the skill tree the mage can set the ground ablaze and the ninja can split into 4 images of himself.

The princess doesn’t do much of anything by herself except cheer the knights on and scream when she is under attack.  The knights can move the princes (the princess acts like a statue), and build structures around her for protection.  The structures can be upgraded and even turned into catapults which a knight can control to unleash a devastating, if slow, assault.  The structures cost hearts to build – I’m not clear on how hearts are earned other than they are gained through combat.  The same goes for the hearts used to upgrade abilities.  This didn’t detract from the game however, if I needed more hearts to build I just went and fought a few monsters.  Most of the time, I got the hearts I needed to finish my upgrades.

The gameplay is somewhere between the hack and slash chaos of Gauntlet and the strategy of tower defense.  The tower defense play is light, and at the lower difficulty levels can be ignored completely.  Some monsters ignore the structures and move right next to the princess, so you can’t rely on just tower defense to keep her safe.  At the end of each level is a boss fight, and the bosses bring many of their friends to the party.  Some monsters are more of a threat to the princess than others, and winning a level requires strategy.  Simply fighting the closest monster will get the knight and the princess killed!

Protect Me Knight is good alone, but this is a game that is really meant to fill up all four player slots.  With friends the knightly duties can be split up, with some focusing on defense while others attempt to thin the ranks of the hoard.  The game is fun for all ages as well, I’ve played several games with my seven and ten year old daughters.  The difficulty level setting ensures a good time no matter the team’s skill.  It is a shame for a game that does co-op play so well there isn’t support online play; co-op is limited to local players only.  That is my only complaint with Protect Me Knight.

Protect Me Knight is a solid buy to anyone with friends.  The graphics and music really bring back the 8-bit feel, and the gameplay will bring back the memories.  Not to give away the ending, but when you make it to the castle there is… well, I’ll just say someone does a good Marty McFly with a guitar impression.  Next time someone wants to break out a Wii and go fake bowling, tell them you have something more interesting in mind and load up Protect Me Knight!

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