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Game Info:

Gryphon Knight Epic
Developed by: Cyber Rhino
Published by: Cyber Rhino
Release Date: August 20, 2015
Available on: PC, Mac, Steam
Genre: Shooter
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Price: $12.99

Thank you Cyber Rhino for sending us this game to review!

Gryphon Knight Epic was successfully Kickstarted in July of 2014 and promised to deliver a 2D medieval shoot 'em up that incorporates exploration and duel style boss battles.  Despite launching a few months later than anticipated, Cyber Rhino has delivered their game as promised.  Early bird supporters of Gryphon Knight Epic were able to snag a digital copy for $10, but the retail price is $12.99 for everyone else.

The story goes as follows: the kingdom of Valiantskies was a prosperous land until a dragon attacked and burned down their armories, crops, and kidnapped their beloved princess.  The desperate king issued a call to arms and Sir Oliver and his six friends vowed to bring the princess back safely.  It was no easy task, but they defeated the dragon and looted the gold and weapons found in the lair.  Since Sir Oliver's friends have taken all of the weapons he took the remaining amulet.  He also got to bring the princess back home and fell in love with her along the way.  They were soon married and had a child shortly thereafter.  A few years later, Sir Oliver was experiencing troublesome nightmares about an evil specter version of himself.  On his way to run an errand on his trusty gryphon, Aquila, Sir Oliver encounters the specter and realizes that he'll need the help of his friends in order to defeat it.  This is where  the journey of the gryphon knight begins.

Highlights:

Strong Points: A medieval shoot 'em up with duel style boss battles; good background music; funny dialogue
Weak Points: I found Sir Oliver to be gimped in the standard Knight difficulty, but the developers have since re-balanced the game
Moral Warnings: Fantasy violence; magic use; language

After completing the tutorial of the basic maneuvers and attack modes, Sir Oliver can choose to visit the merchants to buy helpful squires, potions, or upgrade his weapons.  Alternatively, he can chose an area to get re-acquainted with a friend to aid him on his journey.  At first, there are only two friends that he can visit and Sir Oliver quickly realizes that each friend has become possessed with evil powers from the cursed weapons they took from the dragon's lair.  Sadly, in order to get their help he'll have to defeat a boss mid-way through the level along with the friend at the end of it.  Once the friends come to their senses, they will hand over the weapon to Oliver who can use it, curse-free, with the help of the amulet he claimed from the dragon's loot.

Each level can be played in one of three difficulty modes: Squire, Knight, or Epic.  The amount of health drops get rarer in the harder difficulties, but the money gained increases.  Money is used to upgrade weapons and hire squires that float around Sir Oliver with unique abilities.  One of the squires casts a protective shield while another replenishes health, others can attack, and there is a cheap ugly duck squire that just flies around and annoys Sir Oliver.   The humor is pretty silly in this game's dialogue (which sometimes contains the D word) and Steam achievement titles.  There are seventy Steam achievements available along with trading cards and cloud saves.    

For the gamers that enjoy finding hidden items, each area has a hidden rune that can be found and upgraded (at a cost) to bestow even more power to Sir Oliver.  While I found Sir Oliver to be powerful on the Squire difficulty levels, the later difficulties tended to be brutal with mosquito enemy's going down in one hit but frogs and other foes took two or more shots to go down.  The bosses took a lot of blows to go down as well.  Fortunately, they often have weakness and predictable patterns to learn.  The developers have rebalanced some of the harder game modes and bosses since I have started playing this game.  

Gryphon Knight Epic
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 76%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 7/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 4/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

While some bugs have been addressed, Gryphon Knight Epic ran pretty well for me.  Unfortunately, I was not able to Shift Tab to respond to people chatting with me on Steam until I exited the game.  The only crash to desktop I experienced was when I adjusted the resolution to support my monitor's native setting.  

Graphically,  this game sports a retro feel to it, but the levels are all unique and nicely detailed, especially the backdrops.  The enemies and bosses were well animated, but some of them were noticeably recycled.  The shop keeper makes a joke about it in fact.   

The background music is enjoyable, even when the title song got stuck in my head.  There doesn't appear to be a sound track available or any way to listen to the music outside of the game.  The sound effects are decent including the groan Sir Oliver makes when he's defeated.  

Gryphon Knight Epic can be challenging especially at the Knight and Epic difficulty levels.  This game can also be short and there is a Steam achievement for beating the game in less than two hours.  While it's not as fun as other Shoot 'em Up games I have played, Gryphon Knight Epic is entertaining.    It's definitely worth considering if it goes on sale.  Just make sure you're okay with the mild language, violence, and magic use within the game before buying it.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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