Knight's Apprentice, Memorick's Adventures Review

The game's a simple, brief romp through the world of Arthurian legend that suffers from some wonky controls and an overall lack of depth.

Knight's Apprentice, Memorick's Adventures actually begins by suffering from a bit of a misnomer. Memorick, the titular, adventuresome youth, actually starts out as an apprentice to the great wizard Merlin, though he's clearly terrible at the magic trade. Rather than take up a staff and spells, Memorick shows himself to be more adept at using a sword and shield. So when danger threatens, he sets off on a proper knight's quest to save the land of Avalon via much hacking and slashing. Apparently, whatever trade he applies himself to, the result is the same. The game's a simple, brief romp through the world of Arthurian legend that suffers from some wonky controls and an overall lack of depth.

As Memorick, you'll fight to save magical Avalon from almost certain peril.

You'll begin the game by discovering that various seals placed all around Avalon, by Merlin himself, are apparently coming undone--and villainous creatures are spilling out as a result. Since the wizard sacrificed a large chunk of his power to contain an evil goddess some time ago, he sends out you--in the guise of teenaged Memorick--to find out what's going on. You set out with the clothes on your back and a simple sword and shield. You then proceed to cut through every enemy you come across while traversing levels that are certain to have moving platforms. This is essentially the extent of what you'll be doing. As you proceed, you'll eventually get a couple of different kinds of stronger armor, swords (including the ubiquitous Excalibur), and shields, along with a bare handful of new moves. However, most of your time will be spent mashing the attack button and dealing death to numerous baddies. Your foes are mostly mindless and will swarm toward you, only to refuse to chase you beyond certain invisible lines, which create odd "safe points" that also remove any sense of real urgency to battle. Add in the fact that your first shield upgrade lends you the ability to leap and then repel creatures from all sides, effectively boiling boss battles down to extremely simple patterns, and any challenge the game might have had evaporates.

Lack of challenge doesn't necessarily imply lack of frustration, and much of the frustration in Knight's Apprentice comes from a poor camera and imprecise controls. The diverse lands of Avalon are rife with platforms, both stationary and moving, and often the camera doesn't want to move into a position to let you gauge your jumps accurately. Sometimes, if you barely miss a leap, Memorick will grab the edge of the surface so he can pull himself up, but it doesn't seem to happen reliably, and you won't grab the ledge if you're in danger of falling off. Additionally, ledges and platforms have edges that will routinely confound your jumps if you're too close. And in some instances, if you jump and brush the bottom of a platform, you'll actually get repelled away, possibly down a few levels or into a waiting pit.

At a few points in the game, you'll have the opportunity to mix up the platforming with a little horseback riding, griffon riding, or traveling down water courses on your handy shield. These events are simple segments where you constantly move forward, so it's up to you to avoid obstacles and change your speed to make it through the level safely, regardless of your choice of mount. These portions of the game make for a nice change of pace, but damage can be a little imprecise. So it's easy to see why you'd take damage from running into a bed of thorns, say, but not necessarily when all you've done is brushed a wall. In addition, damage can depend on your speed. Therefore, you can hit obstacles slightly more slowly to prevent a normal injury, thus leaving you pretty much unscathed...unless you eddy up against a particular obstacle for more than a second, which seems silly.

There's just not a lot to this game, other than more platforms than are strictly sane.

The game's worlds look decent without being spectacular. The environments are generally simple areas with distinct themes (the grassy lands, the water lands, the ice lands, the fire lands, and so on) that feature bright but limited color palettes and not a whole lot of depth. Characters are fairly well-modeled and cartoony in design, without a great range of movement or expression. Text dialogue in the game features character portraits as well, although these are generally grainy and muddy and don't look very good. The voice work in the game is nothing special, either. There are some strange casting choices--Arthur's sister Morganna sounds like a preteen girl rather than a mature sorceress--but, overall, the delivery is solid, if not particularly inspired. The musical score has a few notable themes that tend to loop fairly often and are forgettable and grating by turns, while the limited range of sound effects are serviceable, if bland.

It's hard to recommend Knight's Apprentice, Memorick's Adventures. The game's shallow simplicity, short length (well under 10 hours), and control issues detract from any appeal. At best, this game could be considered for rental for younger players so that they could hack things with swords, but otherwise, your time is far better spent with any of the other numerous, richer platformers and hack-and-slash games on the market.

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Knight's Apprentice, Memorick's Adventures More Info

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  • First Released
    released
    • Xbox
    The game's a simple, brief romp through the world of Arthurian legend that suffers from some wonky controls and an overall lack of depth.
    6.4
    Average Rating57 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Microids
    Published by:
    XS Games, Microids
    Genre(s):
    Open-World, Adventure, Action, 3D
    Theme(s):
    Fantasy
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Fantasy Violence