Developer: Warlock Arts | Publisher: Warlock Arts | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Casual / Puzzle / Indie | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam
For Knot, developer Warlock Arts took their inspiration from Chinese wood knots to create a puzzle game aimed at lovers of burr and block puzzles. For anyone unfamiliar with these puzzles, they basically consist of blocks that are mechanically interlocked. Players have to try and disassemble the puzzle by removing the individual pieces in the correct order. Knot tries to replicate this process in digital form with a selection of 40 different puzzles.
The puzzles in Knot comes in all shapes and sizes while disassembling them ranges from very easy to downright tricky. To make things more visually interesting the game makes use of 20 different materials for the puzzles. While these materials do not influence the gameplay, they do add some variety to the game and look great thanks to the realistic visuals. The backgrounds, on the other hand, are kept rather plain, so you can focus on the puzzle-solving without getting distracted.
Each puzzle in Knot begins with a 3D block floating over a plain static background. Players can then rotate the block in any direction or click on individual pieces to move them around. These individual pieces are highlighted when selected, which makes it easier to see their size and position in relation to the other pieces. During the early puzzles it’s easy to stumble across the solution with some trial and error, but later on some real though is required to avoid messing things up so badly that your only option is to restart.
Although Knot is a very relaxing experience, it does have some issues that prevent us from wholeheartedly recommending it to puzzle fans. The entire game feels like it was designed with mobile devices in mind where a touch screen can be used to manipulate the puzzles. Unfortunately, when playing it on PC we encountered some problems. Firstly, for some reason trying to rotate the blocks with the mouse is incredibly slow and tedious. In the end, we gave up and tried to switch over to a controller, which came with its own problems. While rotating the blocks with the left analog stick was much faster than the mouse, the right analog stick was completely useless as it caused the cursor to drift all over the place. This meant that we ended up using the left analog stick on our controller to rotate the blocks, the mouse to click on individual pieces, and then the d-pad on the controller to manipulate these pieces. It’s hardly an ideal solution and there is no way to zoom in or out, which also made some puzzles harder than they should have been.
In total, it took us about four hours to complete the game and the experience was enjoyable enough that we did so in one session. Doing so also made it very noticeable that the difficulty of the game is somewhat uneven as some of the later puzzles are much easier than the preceding ones. There is also no way to skip puzzles, so anyone who gets stuck will have to solve the puzzle before they will be allowed to move on to the rest. At least you can go back and play puzzles that you have previously completed. Knot also keeps track of the amount of time you spend on a puzzle, but thankfully there are no limits to worry about.
The presentation for the game is very minimalist and your only options are to mute the audio or reset your progress. Speaking of the music, while the tunes on offer are very soothing and relaxing there isn’t a whole lot of them, so in the end, we switched to something else to listen in the background while playing. While playing you can only move pieces left, right, up or down in the game view, which means you have to rotate the model in order to move pieces in certain directions. The sliding mechanics can also be a bit finicky and there were times when we couldn’t get pieces to budge even though no obstructions were visible.
While we have a lot of complaints about the control scheme we definitely enjoyed the game and would have loved to see a few more puzzles once we reached the end. The achievements in the game are tied to your progress, so by the end of the game, you’ll also have gotten all the achievements. Unfortunately, this does mean that there isn’t a lot of replay value to be found here, but at least Knot is priced quite affordably and definitely worth picking up during a sale.
- OS: Windows® XP
- Processor: 2.0+ GHz Dual-Core Processor
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- DirectX: Version 9.0
- Storage: 1 GB available space
- OS: Windows® 10 (or higher)
- Processor: 3.0+ GHz Multi-Core Processor
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce GTX 560 (or better)
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 1 GB available space