Developer: Fantasync Entertainment
Platform: Mobile – iOS
Genre: Action, RPG
Position: Game Developer, Game Designer
Simply Knights is a simple 2D side-scrolling knight versus knight endless action game where the player is pitted over and over again alongside allies into a legion of enemies in attempts to defeat their king. The challenge of the game is design like an egg and spoon race. The game focuses on the gameplay of maneuvering the player’s character, which is a Knight with the aspect of heavy armor and heavy weaponry. As the game progress the player will be able to unlock more equipment, which can affect the Knight’s weight in maneuvering. The core aspect in the game is the simple control of focusing only on the character’s control by offering its unique auto-attack mechanic that demands precision and timing.
- App Store Highest Gross Ranking Top 250 Action & RPG Charts in 4 countries. (CA included)
- App Store Highest Download Ranking Top 250 RPG Chart in over 10 countries.
Something very satisfying. – Vynevolent (US)
Executed well in an addictive way, combat has a strategic almost dark souls feel, test your luck just charging in or be a bit more defensive either works but combining the two is what will keep you alive. It’s fun.
Please read – A fellow knight (US)
Okay, firstly, I must say that i love this game. It’s simply fantastic. I just arrived home from an 8 hour drive from texas, and I’ve been playing the game the entire ride. I gotta say its my favorite game on my phone.
Simply Surprising – EgoJisto (Ukraine)
This little gemstone got me truly surprised of what I got it in a pile of all those free games – there is more to it, that it looks) Have you heard of For Honor? This game resembles it for me a little) Simply Knights, fighting with each other in a solid mechanic) And graphics are so simple, but lovely – definitely approve)
Just wow – Lorethefirst (US)
This game is probably one of the best I’ve ever played and the first gamed i bothered giving a review
Can’t stop playing – Dahlia Lamma (Australia)
Something about this game makes me keep coming back. Love the theme and the gameplay.
Very original – Bdot604 (Canada)
Awesome game! Very original content and gameplay. Highly recommended, never played anything like this before.
Simply Knights for iPhones are played in landscape while iPads can be play played in both Landscape and Portrait. The controls are design to have the player to play with both hands holding the sides. They will be using both thumbs to control the buttons assign across the screen. The left thumb controlling the left half of the screen (L Primary, L Secondary) and the right thumb controlling the right half of the screen (R Primary, R Secondary). The thumbs will mainly be commanding the Primary buttons. When they need to toggle walk/run or weapon switch, they will reach their thumb (left for L Secondary and right for R Secondary) to tap that button. The percent of the middle buttons are wider for easier reach. The buttons are design to fit the entire screen for easy muscle memory control. The center buttons are wider in width for easier reach from Primary to Secondary.
Camera & HUD Layout
There are three critical points to the setup of the games camera. Since this game is completely about melee, the camera is placed ahead to focus all the action and interest into the center of the screen. The player’s character is always within 40% and less from the right of the camera while moving or idling. This distance gives enough space for the player to keep enemies focused in the center of the screen without triggering the attack. With the auto-attack mechanic, once an enemy is close to entering the Player Point of the screen the player’s character will likely (depending on weapon) attack. This gives a quick analyzable visual feedback so the player is able to quickly judge the event before it happens. Enemy AI in the game are program to space themselves. The Red Caution Point is commonly where the player should be aware the most since they are at a safe position from getting hit. It also hints that after attacking an enemy (in focus point) these enemies might progress to attack suddenly.
Simply Knights HUD is very clean and clear. The Movement walk/run Indicator shows what movement type the player currently is in. The complete HUD (top and bottom) is design to be focused to the center of the screen to give guidance to the player where the center of the screen is. All important gameplay information is located on the bottom while less important information like score and pickups are located on top.
Design an intuitive simple touch screen character control-scheme with a hardcore combat-focused gameplay.
Football touchdown-like runner involving clunky, heavy, knights brutally bashing each other with heavy weapons.
Pillar 1: Simple Controls
The first goal for Simply Knights was to create the simplest control system possible for this specific gameplay design. Since the start, the plan is to implement the hold left of screen to move left and hold right of screen to move right button scheme for touchscreen games. We personally believe it is most simplest and basic character control design for any given game involving a character on touch screen. From our research, these current control-schemes are commonly used on adventure games and we have not seen any involved in intense gameplay. The goal was to get it to work for a combat driven design. The problem was how to get attacking and guarding to work with it.
There was a lot of inspiration from auto-attack games like Half-Minute Hero. We always loved the concept of Auto-Attacking because it really changes the player experience away the action-driven to choice driven gameplay. Though at the end the design is fairly different from our inspirations, Simply Knights current auto-attack design turned out great with the edge control scheme. Last challenge was the guarding. At first, easiest way to design it was to have the back button (left edge) be guard but this felt restricting and too gamey. The controls had to feel as free as possible since it is based on maneuvering. Fortunately, there was one more way of pressing we were missing and that was holding both edges. It has taken some tweaking to make guarding feel natural without it feeling instantly reactive or irresponsive. At the end, we are most satisfied with the result.
Pillar 2: Methodical Combat
The next goal was purely on combat design. The Methodical Combat goal is the take away of offensive action experience to a more analytical/strategic experience. By this we mean the goal is to avoid the experience of aggressive combat games like God of War and experience slower combat of games like Dark Souls. Reason to this was to offer a more realistic and weight oriented combat. To achieve this, we focus more on slower pace combat by adding delays before attacking (wind-up) and after finishing attacking. This was design, as a vulnerability to the wielder as “think before you swing” feedback. After, impact was added to all attacks. Impact is the ability to knock away enemies and stagger them upon landing. This was design to be a high reward feedback for successful attacks. By this, the design encourages the player to stay vigilant and observe opportunities to before attacking adding both high risk and high reward feedbacks.
Pillar 3: Skill-Driven yet Noob-Friendly
The last goal was to design a skill-driven game that feels rewarding for good players but will also feels satisfying for less-skilled players. The importance of this goal is to maintain a equally satisfying experience that doesn’t require high investments of play but offer the satisfaction of a good run. This goal is tackled by designing the games into a challenge of survival over a game of score. Therefore the longer the player maintains survival of their character and their allies usually achieves better results. Each run is also design to be a high-risk high-reward experience. Each character is scaled to have low hit points (averaging 3) and each attack commonly does 1 damage resulting in quick deaths or quick kills. This design gives the privilege of less-skilled players to pick up & play and still have the satisfaction of taking out enemies. With careful play an average player will still gain a decent result while skilled player will be able to reach high results with smarter decisions.
The Simply Auto-Attack Mechanic
Simply Knight’s core mechanic is the Auto-Attack Mechanic. The Auto-Attack Mechanic is a mechanic that automatically attacks when the player’s character is in range of an enemy. The design offers this maneuvering-base game a graceful experience and feeling of not worrying about additional spamming or gestures. The Auto-Attack Mechanic is design to feeling as natural as possible to always make the player feel like they are the ones commanding the attack over it being automatic. This feeling is achieve by never locking the character into an attack and have control to back or dodge out of danger.
The Player currently has a weight level of 9
The Weight Mechanic is the mechanic that determines how the player’s character control motion will be like. Example if the player has high weight level, the character’s leap will be shorter than low levels. These levels are simple determine by the weight of every equipment the player chooses. This mechanic gives the character a sense of weight and meaning to the importance of being heavy-&-safe versus light-&-free which plays to the games core design of maneuvering. This mechanic is design with set values of each level to prevent any unbalancing. Also it is design to have a very simple calculation system making it a clear and easy to read for the player.
Establishing Scene Transition
Simply Knight’s transition to scenes is design to be as smooth as possible. Like common mobile games, the game is usually consisting of one gameplay scene and the rest are menus and interfaces. This design keeps the menus to feel as within gameplay-like as possible. Each menu is designed to have the player’s character in view at all time and have the character establish the menus by walking in and away if changing scene. This helps establish the scenes to be less UI and a less jarring while transiting between scenes.
In Simply Knights, the game involves lots of equipment for all knights (player, allies, and enemies). The problem is how to introduce equipment to the player without over cramming them with too much or confusing them in battle with something they have never seen. The Player-Pace Progression is a design that keeps the game’s new learning curves to feel natural by having the player experiences them over their own progression. This is design by having all AIs function identically to the player. Therefore if the player notices something the AI does, they themselves can apply those techniques and able handle solving the strength and weaknesses on their own experiments. The next design was to work with the new equipment that the player unlocks. To prevent unrecognizable equipment that the AIs may battle with, the AI only started with a few starters from a starting pool. As the game progress, the player will have a large content of equipment. When new equipment is available to the player, so will all the AI. This helps guide the player’s knowledge of the weapon by having them use it themselves or by experiencing them from gameplay on opponents or allies. So the learning curve is natural to the player’s pace and experience.