A long time ago, when I was eight years old, I remember relying on Flash games I could find online if I wanted to play a video game. I wasn’t the only one; in my country, Venezuela, every kid knew about the existence of webpages like Friv, Nitrome, or Minijuegos, where you could find many great flash games.
It is probably the nostalgia talking here, but I remember loving Platform games like Fireboy and Watergirl, the original Meatboy, Papa Louie: When Pizzas Attack, and many more, and I enjoyed the adventures these games offered.
Even though they weren’t AAA smash hits, I vividly remember being obsessed with these simplistic platformers and wanting to bounce around the streets just like the heroes in these games.
Suffice to say, I still have a soft spot for platformers. They mean a lot to me. So when given the opportunity to get a hands-on look at Candle Knight came my way, I grabbed it with both hands!
Candle Knight is a 2.5D, adventure Platformer developed and published by Dracma Studios. After an arduous 3 years of development, it is finally here, and I have all the deets regarding this game’s performance, features, and narrative.
Will Candle Knight be an excellent Platformer that sends my nostalgia into overdrive? Or will the candle’s weak ember go out in the breeze? It’s time to find out! This is Indie Game Culture’s Candle Knight Review, this time conducted on PC!
A Light In the Darkness
Let’s start this review by talking about the story and the narrative of Candle Knight. Usually, Platform games prioritize mechanics and gameplay, often leading to a relatively shallow storyline. This is exactly the case with Candle Knight.
In this game, thanks to the opening sequence, we get to know about the origin of the Candle Knight and what happened to the Castle, and during the game, we can see how the Candle Knight gets stronger and more powerful.
This is more than enough of a narrative push of the starting blocks for a Platform game; these kinds of games don’t need to have the most touching story ever to work, but I think the concept of a Knight with a Candle in his head could have been explained and elaborated on a little more.
The Candle Knight is not the most charismatic character ever; serving as little more than the character you control, and that’s it. He’s emotionless, plain and doesn’t show fear, excitement, or any other kind of emotion.
I got a bit disappointed with that because I expected the Candle Knight to be more charming, like a warrior with motivation and a will to fight, but that wasn’t the case.
Candle Knight looks gorgeous when you play it on Ultra settings; the backgrounds are beautiful, the textures of the objects are on point, and the set pieces fit into the “Enchanted Castle” theme. The Knight looks daunting, and whenever we see a close-up of him, he looks menacing and powerful.
The only thing I have a problem with is when it comes to the performance of the game. It turns out that the game was pretty demanding for my PC, even to the point where the game had several frame drops and wouldn’t run over 40 FPS. This doesn’t make the game unplayable at all, but it makes it a bit uncomfortable to play.
With that in mind, I decided to go with the High-graphic settings. In High, the game looks horrible. The backgrounds are still highly detailed (which caused several FPS drops), but the textures of the objects, the enemies, and the Candle Knight looked like I was playing the very first Tomb Raider.
The worst part is that the game performance didn’t improve much after I changed the settings. It’s weird to see this game looking ugly while also being so demanding for my PC. I can run the newest games without any issues, but this game gave me several performance problems.
Also, I want to point out that the game has a serious problem with the camera. The transitions were so abrupt I sometimes felt dizzy while playing, and there would be moments when I got stuck because
I didn’t find the pathway to advance, and it all was because the camera perspective hid the door I had to cross. Sometimes, the camera got stuck in a wall, completely blocking the vision. Platformers rely on strong camera work, and at times, this game’s camera really gets in the way of a fun experience.
Hey, Got A Knight?
I can split the gameplay of Candle Knight into two portions; the battle system and the parkour and puzzle gameplay. Let’s first talk about the latter, which was what I loved the most about Candle Knight.
The puzzles of this game are very simple yet effective. Most of the time, it’ll be you moving boxes around or getting inside paintings to go to a new zone. I like how the game uses the paintings as small puzzle sections that trigger an event, opening a door in a previous zone, or giving you access to a new area. It’s clever and shows a contrast between the darkness of the castle and the colorful art of the paintings.
Nonetheless, I want to point out that it’s sometimes hard to go through the paintings; the hitboxes of the platforms are a bit off, so even though it looks like you stepped on a platform, you end up falling.
Then you have the Combat system. I didn’t like it. The game constantly feels like it’s working against you, with unrefined mechanics, artificial difficulty spikes, and a lack of variety when it comes to battle strategies you can employ.
Take the Ignis system, for example. This is a mechanic in which you accumulate Ignis in a bar that has three levels. The higher the level, the strongest your attacks will be, but as a drawback, you’ll be more vulnerable to damage. That would be a great system, but the problem is that battling and moving the knight is tortuous.
First, while you attack the enemies, there’s no way to stun or stagger them, so they keep attacking as usual, and if you are even relatively close to them, they’ll lock you in an unavoidable combo, which is annoying.
There’s no parrying; there are no combo breaker attacks; so you just have to soak up damage and hope you deal more in each encounter. Plus, if your Ignis bar is full, any enemy can take you down with a single combo.
Other prominent titles like Dark Souls or Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order also take the same approach to combat to an extent, but here’s the thing; those games give the player the tools to parry, block, dodge, and approach encounters in multiple ways. It’s hard, but it’s fair. In this case, I don’t think it is fair; I mostly think it’s frustrating.
Break Out The Xylophone
Candle Knight boasts an OST that nails the ‘abandoned castle’ theme. When the game starts, we listen to slow melodies that create a spooky, uncomfortable vibe.
Then, as the game progresses, these haunting violins are swapped out for plucky xylophone riffs, which trade the ominous theme for one of curiosity. Only to burst into life again in the assortment of incredible boss battle themes.
Then equally, The game knows when to cut the noise and have players wander the castle’s hallowed halls with nothing more than their footsteps for company.
Overall, the music design is polished, varied, has levels, and this all culminates in a very enjoyable auditory assortment that brings the setting to life.
The Verdict – 5/10
Candle Knight might not be the most impressive Platform game ever, but it’s not a bad game; you can enjoy it if you like a challenge.
I think it needs some extra love, especially on bugs, wacky camera angles, and janky animations, but aside from that, the platform and puzzle gameplay is good, the boss fights are very original, and the arts and texture design of the game is impressive. I definitely want to see more from Dracma Studios!
Pros and Cons
- Great quality graphics
- Good and very detailed backgrounds
- Interesting boss fights
- The parkour and the Puzzles are good
- Unfair and frustrating combat system
- The story fails to deliver on a promising concept
- Weird camera angles and transitions
- It has several bugs and janky animations, which drops the game quality.
Alternative Games Like Candle Knight
There are a lot of better games than Candle Knight out there. You should give these titles a try:
- River City Girls Saga
- The Oddworld Series
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Hollow Knight (this one is a better Knight)
Candle Knight Review:FAQs
Question: Is Candle Knight a challenging game?
Answer: Yes, it is. It’s a really heavy endurance test, and I wish you good luck if you want to finish it.
Question: How long does it take to beat Candle Knight?
Answer: I would say 15-20 hours. It’s not a long game, but as it’s challenging, you’ll spend a lot of time on it.
Question: Is Candle Knight in consoles?
Yes! You can find this game on Xbox One and PS4.
Jesús spent 10 hours playing Candle Knight. Most of the time, he felt frustrated by several gameplay problems, but he enjoyed the exploration and platform bits, the painting parts, and the Boss Fights.