Seriously, I've only played for an hour or so and I think I'd already be willing to consider it one of my favorite DS games. It's amazing to play a game that feels like something completely alien and new like this, even though its parts are all familiar.
It really is an SRPG with a shmup influence. And hardcore shmup influence- I'm talking denmaku type stuff with the blossoming patterns and all that. You've got all the classic FFT style stuff (although you don't really move your characters) and SPRG trappings. You get new guys by giving them items you find that they remember from when they were alive. Weapons and skills are sort of tied together. 7 classes. There's "Chaos" and "Law" phases and you have to switch between them throughout the game- weapons have to be aligned right to work. Some characters have different attack patterns (very Chess-y) depending on the phase. It is very board game-ish in a few ways. Then there's this bizarre slot machine thing at the end of each turn. Oh, and there's actually bullet scraping for extra EXP. Bullet scraping!
I'm babbling because I really don't know how to describe it. It really is something totally unique. It's telling that there are a shitload of tutorials- the demo only had the hands-on part. There's like 30 mini-tutorials covering various game concepts. You have to watch them. Then there's a set of tips, too.
Just buy it if you have a DS, seriously.
Awesome graphics (PSX quality), great music. I got the deluxe preorder package that came with a dumb CD and a kind of cool art book that's worth flipping through in the bathroom once or twice.
I definitely foresee being up at 4am tonight playing this thing...you should be too.
I've been playing KitN since I got it yesterday. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. There is literally so much going on that it's impossible to get a real feel for it after just a few hours of play. Once I've got a better understanding of the game, I'll have more to say about it.
OK, I've played about 4 hours now and have some more solid opinions on it.
- It is, in fact, awesome. It's just such a different take on the SPRG it may be hard to go back to FFT, FIRE EMBLEM, et. al. again. The gameplay is incredibly complex and deep- it took me quite a while to realize the significance of rotating characters in and out between turns to cover different ground. But you have to be careful, because the more you use a character, the more vitality they lose. WHen they run out, they're gone. And the game is hectic as fuck too- there's a lot of action and tension when you're running out of time.
- I love that the grinding is actually removed from the game and provided as a separate play mode. Once you beat story levels, it unlocks areas for "leveling". You go there, fight with generic guys and weapons, and get items and experience for your story party. It makes the game playable in short bursts without having to get caught up in dialogue and story elements.
- There's a couple of usability issues- I think they put the sliders WAY too close to the edge, and when you're dodging bullets it's pretty easy to accidentaly attack when you don't mean to. It doesn't really hurt anything, but it's a nuisance. I also think it was a mistake to only have one save slot- you're going to want like 10.
- The story...uh...whatever. It doesn't make much sense, but the idea is cool. You'll see what I mean.
I think it's one of the best games on the system, if only because it could only exist on DS and also because it's so innovative. Enough writing, I'm going to go play it right now.
I was going to post a followup but MB has covered most of the ground I would have already. Here's what's left.
KitN has a steep learning curve. You really need to do the tutorials to even begin to have a clue as to what the hell is going on. One thing the tutorials don't really explain, and this is crucial, is that depending on the class of knight you are using, you can only face/fight certain directions. For example the Warrior can only face upper-left and upper-right while the Hermit can only face lower-right and lower-left. Make sure you take that into account when you pick what characters to use at the start of a battle.
It's certainly different from any other game I've tried. It's at times both brilliant (Dodging enemy attacks in real time as the Wisp while trying to activate your Knights) and frustrating (The action on the screen can be frenetic to the point of total chaos). For some reason it reminded me a lot of Magic Realm. Another game you have to put a lot into learning it and is also both brilliant and frustrating.
The actual storyline isn't that compelling. After a while I found myself skipping through the story scenes to speed the game along. Also the plot is very linear. You win a mission, see some story, then fight the next mission. Your choices are limited to what Knights make up your team and what items you keep in your inventory. That's not really a bad thing as games like Advance Wars use a linear mission structure too. I was just hoping for more choice about which battle I would tackle next. Maybe I was hoping KitN was closer to the RPG end of the slider than it actually is.
Am I happy I got it? Yes. At first I was a little overwhelmed as the game is a lot to tackle. But as I get a better handle on whats going on and how to battle effectively, I find myself liking the game more and more. As MB said this is a game that could only exist on the DS, and I dig that.