This side-scrolling platformer isn't short on Grasshopper's trademark style, humour, and violence, as we found out in our first look at Gamescom.
Black Knight Sword was announced earlier in the week by publisher Digital Reality. It's a downloadable title from Japanese developer Grasshopper Manufacture, and it's being published by Hungarian company Digital Reality. It has all the hallmarks of a Grasshopper production--it looks beautiful, blood gushes all over the screen, and it's punctuated by moments of insanely twisted humour. We got to see it for the first time at Digital Reality's Gamescom 2011 booth and were impressed with what we saw.
The publisher describes Black Knight Sword as "Monty Python in a Japanese paper theatre." You start the game as a man hanging with rope around his neck, before falling to the ground and pulling a sword out of a dead body. When the man gets the sword, the body releases a cloud of black smoke that consumes him and turns him into a Black Knight. He then sets off on a rampage with his giant sword, killing a procession of enemies in a shower of blood along the way.
Black Knight Sword's visual aesthetic is one of the most interesting aspects of the game. The screen is flanked by big red theatrical curtains, and as you progress, the backgrounds change dynamically, giving the impression of a paper theatre. These flat backgrounds swap in and out as you play, which gives the game a beautiful handmade aesthetic, and while there are elements of Little Big Planet to it, it's still a unique and enjoyable visual design.
Fans of Grasshopper's other games will be pleased to know that the game is just as twisted and violent as the studio's other games, such as Shadows of the Damned and No More Heroes. You can jump in the air and sword-bounce off enemies, leaving a shower of blood in your wake. Health is dished out via skulls that are dispensed from microwaves for no apparent reason. And there's a store where you can spend the hearts you've collected from fallen enemies to purchase upgrades for things like armour.
Black Knight Sword is one of the most interesting and original games that we've seen at this year's Gamescom, and we can't wait to see more of it in the run-up to release. It's due to arrive on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for download in January or February 2012.