Are you the type of gamer that likes to get angry at a game? You're going to be quite interested in Glue Knight [Free], if so. I mean that in the kindest possible way, too. Glue Knight is a really cool game, with reliable controls, exciting level designs, and a really good tempo overall. It's also cruelly difficult in a way I haven't personally experienced in about a year. This is a level-based auto-run platformer where death comes swift and often, and the only real way to succeed is to have superhuman reflexes or die, die, and die some more until you learn the right sequence. I know some of you out there must dig this because even I sometimes get a kick out of games like this.

Our hero, the Glue Knight, is on some kind of quest. I actually can't recall what his quest is for, but it involves running at full speed through more than 60 stages filled with things that will kill him if he so much glances at them. He automatically runs forward, and can jump, slash things with his sword, or do a Zelda 2-style downward stab. With these moves, you must reach the goal of each stage without running into anything dangerous, including walls. Think a low-tech Wind-Up Knight [Free] and you won't be too far off the mark. Glue Knight has one special trick up his sleeve, though. By holding the right side of the screen, he can stick to any safe surface and defy gravity. In this manner, you're sometimes working and winding your way around a small, but twisty stage that deposits you almost in the same place you started.

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Simply by the nature of how it plays, there are a lot of unfair deaths to be had in Glue Knight. The usual stage progression for me involved getting killed, dodging it the next time, then getting killed by something right after that. Repeat until whatever follows the thing that killed me is the exit door. As there are no checkpoints at all, you have to learn the entire stage and execute it perfectly in one complete run. The stages aren't very long in terms of minutes and seconds, but it can still be devastating to get through a gauntlet of traps and die right before you reach the door. It reminds me of games like N or Super Meat Boy, but with the stages taking place in larger areas. The game seems fully aware of itself, so you can instantly restart after dying just by hammering on the screen, making it very easy to get into that groove of doom that makes games like this fun.

There are six worlds in total, with each containing about ten or so stages. New traps are rarely thrown in. For the most part, the game likes to reuse the same bag of tricks in an increasingly deadly way. It works out okay since the traps introduced early on essentially cover all the bases, so devilish combinations can easily step up the challenge. The game moves too fast and throws too much at you to ever get boring during it's brief but painful run. Visually, there's not a lot of difference between the levels apart from a change in their color palette, but you're not going to have a lot of time to admire the scenery anyway.

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The controls are pretty simple. Touch the left side of the screen to jump, touch the right side to swing your sword. Tap jump again while you're in the air to do a downward stab, and touch and hold the right side to stick to a surface. Once you've transitioned to the new surface, you can release your hold and use your sword again normally. Sometimes the downward stab comes out when you're trying to do successive jumps, but that's pretty rare, and any deaths it may cause are just par for the course. The controls work out just fine for the most part, or at least, they'll be one of the most infrequent causes of your demise.

There are a few things that I think need some improvement, though. First of all, you can't replay an individual stage. If you want to play a level again, you have to start the world over, and you can only do that if you've finished the whole thing in the first place. Second, I'd love to have a score, a timer, or something like that to compete on with friends. That's sometimes the most enjoyable part of really hard games, after all. I'm also tempted to suggest a little bit more warning about incoming obstacles, but I'm not entirely certain that wouldn't ruin what the game has going for it, so I think I'll just leave that one dangling. The game runs you into walls without hesitation, but that's sort of why it's fun.

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It's another retro-styled game, but the bold colors and simple backgrounds help highlight the obstacles, so it definitely works here. Enemies are clearly color-coded according to their behavior so you can react at a glance. I wish the camera let you see a little bit more around you, especially when you start going up and down the walls, because that's really one of the most annoying ways to die in Glue Knight. The relentless single track of music matches the pace of the game nicely, even if it does wear on you after a while. Aside from some audio options, there's not much in the way of bells and whistles here, so don't expect anything like Game Center support.

Of course, I haven't even gotten to the craziest part of Glue Knight yet. This game is free. Completely free. No ads, no IAPs, no price tag, not even a button to take you to the developer's other games. I don't know if it will stay that way forever, and it really shouldn't, because it's certainly worth paying something for, but for now, you can pick this up and start banging your head against the wall for the same price as the air you breathe. If you enjoy challenging action games, you've got no reason not to try this out, and even if you don't, there's not much to lose if you want to give it a go.

TouchArcade Rating

  • diemer

    2014 is the year of self describing, horn helmed, retro inspired knight platformers I guess.

  • GiHubb

    This game makes me wonder if Super Meat Boy Forever is going to be identical, with a different coat of paint. I say this as a high compliment! I can't understand how this is 100% free.

  • Christian Valentin

    Great review, Shaun! Really wish this had checkpoints for some levels, but besides that, this is a great auto runner with great level design. Feels unfair that I got this for free

  • Marvin

    I tried to get into this a few days ago and the sheer pace of scrolling bothers my eyes. It's definitely a challenge and could have plenty of fun play time for some but it's just not for me.

    • fmay

      I think the same. The vertical scroll is especially annoying. The game is wonderful but this issue is spoiling it. I would lock the vertical scroll when you are just jumping on the same platform.

  • Diaboliq

    I dont like games like this, but this one had me playing until I beat every level... Cleared the whole game in about 3 sittings. Definitely a hard game.

  • tdotfromdabronx

    Very difficult timing is everything in this game gets very frustrating at times...

  • Balázs Buri

    Hey Guys, Someone just told me about the direct corellation between food, shelter and money. So I came to my senses and made this game cost 99 cents. I'm sorry Wilson!

  • Flare

    Game is no longer free, it's 99 cents now. I'm glad I snagged it when it was though.

    I loved the game, I finished all levels last night.

Glue Knight Reviewed by Shaun Musgrave on . Rating: 4