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Freeware Indie Games: Knytt

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For my first blog post I thought I might as well start with something everyone likes: free games! Some years ago the words "free" and "game" combined would give me a headache. Usually this would concern a MMO of sorts that had a microtransaction system. None of those here folks! What you'll be getting are 100% free games developed by video game enthusiasts! Since gamespot is mainly a mainstream website I thought I'd be fun to let some of you guys see what indie game development is truly capable of. So let's get started!

The first game we're going to talk about is Knytt by Swedish developer Nicklas "Nifflas" Nygren. Nifflas has been developing free and fun indie games for a long time now, and has gathered a loyal fanbase over the years. His breakthrough game was the beautiful game Within A Deep Forest. Perhaps I'll discuss that one with you later.

So what is Knytt? Knytt stars an odd little creature (presumably a Knytt) that is abducted by an alien. The alien's spaceship hits a comet and both creatures crashland on an unknown planet. Nifflas is a master of the minimalist, and this becomes apparent as soon as you start the game. This entire intro sequence as no words, no spoken dialogue or anything else. The alien has no apparent reason to abduct the Knytt, and Nifflas never gives us an explanation. And as soon as you crash on the planet, you're completely on your own. You'll see the alien standing next to his UFO, and you'll realize that you have to collect several parts to repair the ship.

From there on, Knytt is totally nonlinear. The game indicates the direction of the item closest to your position, and you'll have to get all items to complete the game. The fun part about Knytt is that it's both totally nonlinear AND there are no artificial constraints. This is not a metroidvania, so there won't be any abilities to gain or items to find. The Knytt is a very agile character. He has no problem climbing up straight wall, walljumping at an insane speed or sliding down obstacles.

Knytt has a huge overworld and a cave system that is at least as large. Despite the fact that this is a low-res game, the graphics are very varied and you get the idea that you're travelling across a very large distance. This is really a game where you can lose yourself in its caves and landscapes. And it's totally fun to do so.

It also helps that Knytt is a beautiful game to behold. It may be low-res, but it contains meticulously detailed pixel art that will enchant you. I found that some scenes were so beautiful that they really made me a bit emotional. The way Nifflas portrays the world, its inhabitants and the relation they have with nature is astoundingly beautiful, and I think almost everyone will be moved.

Together with the stunning graphics comes the stellar sound. Nifflas composed a soundtrack of divine quality here. The ambient tones fit all the scenes perfectly, and they make the game even more involving. The footsteps of the Knytt creature are also spot-on, and you'll really feel like a monkey-like creature thanks to them. All in all, Knytt's stellar production values make for a very intimate gameplay experience.

The reason why I've chosen Knytt as my first game in the series (hopefully) of blog posts is because I think it does an admirable job at using its low budget (I imagine it was close to zero) as something positive. Its music, graphics and gameplay all come together to make a game that couldn't be imitated, even with a budget of several million dollars.

Knytt is about three hours long and it's entirely free! You can get it from Nifflas' website, right here!