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[Free-Game Friday is a new weekly feature in which a writer from the GamerLimit staff looks at a completely free game and discusses their experience with it, allowing you to download it at the end. Feel free to check out our full schedule right here!]

Knytt Stories was not what I expected. A minimalistic, short length platformer with your usual fixings, I was prepared for a lighthearted, pixelated adventure – not so much to ask from a freeware game.

As it turns out, Knytt Stories, a creation of indie game designer Nifflas, provides something entirely different. The game makes an excellent case for video games as a form of artistic expression. Yes, Knytt Stories presents the player with a goal and a variety of unlock-able tools for achieving it. Yet the real appeal of this game lies in the experience that it creates.

Knytt Stories centers around a “Knytt” named Juni who receives a missive from her friend, Henna, to rescue their world from a machine that appears to be drawing the life out of the planet. This is all the background gamers are presented with; the rest is left up to the players.

The gameplay is quite simple – in typical platforming style, gamers guide Juni through the environment, jumping across obstacles along the way. As one makes their way through the game, players may stumble upon tools to power up Juni with special abilities – double jumping, an umbrella for gliding – you may even gain the ability to create a hologram of yourself to distract enemies.

umbrella

However, the ability to run up walls is perhaps the most enjoyable ability Juni receives. An unusual function in the platforming genre, this particular power up truly allows the gamer to think about the world in which Juni is placed  in different ways. Climbing adds different ways to explore and overcome obstacles if you know how to take advantage of this power.

Herein lies the major draw of the game – using and seeking new abilities to allow you to explore. Nifflas creates an aesthetically stunning environment; this is surprising considering the game’s simplicity. The world of Knytt Stories is comprised of various areas, all seamlessly connected but highly unique. Starting in a red-hued wasteland, sliding down a crevasse will lead players to a sprawling subterranean cave. Select alcoves and tunnels are eerily lit by lamp posts. If you manage to find the path back up, you may find yourself jumping among stark mountain tops as the wind blows leaves past your face.

spooky

The music adds to the beauty of the game. The all original soundtrack is possibly one of the most impressive I’ve heard. It’s an entrancing mix of new wave electronica and melancholic guitar and orchestral melodies. I soon found myself relaxing and simply enjoying each discovery I made.

The music shifts depending on where you travel, altering the mood with each turn. The soundtrack matches perfectly with each area, truly creating an all encompassing experience. Wandering through a series of underwater pipes, the player is subject to a sparse, otherworldly synthesized soundtrack. When you climb out onto a sparse cliff face, you’re shocked to discover the only sounds you hear are the wind blowing and the sound of your own footsteps. Yet, fall down another cliff side and you find a green field with trees and butterflies, accompanied by sweeping string and orchestral harmonies.

waterflowers

As Juni, the player adopts a passive role; if you’re seeking to kill things, this probably isn’t the game for you. Few enemies appear throughout the game. If you manage to come across an aggressive creature, you are required to find a way around without putting yourself in danger. However, a few minutes into the game and players will have no desire for a more action packed experience. The need to continue exploring takes precedence.

For all of its delicate intricacies, Knytt Stories is quite short. Luckily, Nifflas doesn’t leave his fans stranded. For those who need more, there are two official expansion levels. Quite a community has been established around Knytt Stories as well. The game is highly customizable, and fans have created a plethora of  levels of all shapes and sizes for players to try.

When it comes down to it, it’s difficult to put into words exactly what it’s like to play Knytt Stories. Luckily, you can find out for yourself by paying a visit to Nifflas’ Games. You’ll find, in addition to the game itself, Nifflas’ own expansion levels and links to the community where you’ll gain access to plenty of fan made levels to keep you busy.

  1. Why do you guys always pick free games that look like they’re from the mid 90′s? There are sooo many free FPS, RPG, and Strategy game out there with cutting edge graphics. Here are some examples:
    http://komplex.gamerlimit.com/2009/09/komplexs-top-free-games/

  2. Because those are the best ones!

  3. avatar Nexuiz-Fan

    Still waiting for a Free-Game Friday article for Nexuiz. Its not only free, but open source. It works with Windows, Linux, or Mac. You can get it from the alientrap website.

    http://alientrap.org/

  4. Also, Komplex, part of the allure of freeware games is seeing games with amazing concepts that probably couldn’t survive in a consumer market. Knytt Stories is definitely one of them, and I certainly try to focus on free games that are similar, like the ones I’ve written about so far (La-Mulana, which is having its difficulty toned down significantly for its commercial release, and Tower of Heaven).

    Still, if you ever want us to do one in particular, it’s always good to make a request, just like the above poster did! We’re always interested in reader input!

  5. @Nexuiz
    Actually, we’ve done that one, in an early concept of Free-Ware Friday!

    http://gamerlimit.com/2009/04/a-game-overlooked-nexuiz-review-freeware/

  6. avatar rookie

    i’m in love. any way to play with a controller? i have logitech.

  7. avatar Jazzman

    Juni is _Not_ a Knytt, the Knytts are the monkey-like creatures from the original game. Juni is human.

    Knytt did not need Knytt stories, even though KS was a decent game it got rid of many, many things that made Knytt great.

  8. avatar William Dunigan

    Greetings to all in that mighty name of “Jesus”:
    Each Christian of whom know Him in the power of His resurrection…or, maybe I should say…those who are well acquainted with the fact, that He truly did come back from the dead…also appeared to His disciples.

    Thomas was invited by Jesus to feel the nail prints within His hands. So, those who also have been convinced by only having His spirit to convince them, having never had the opportunity to feel the nail prints in
    His hands, as did Thomas: Jesus said blessed are those who have seen and then believed, but greater are the blessings that rest upon those who have never seen, but still believe.

    I am a full time writer and an ordained minister. I have written three books so far. My first book: Reviving the dead church, by reminiscing the day of Pentecost. The second one is: Beyond the Golden Sunset and by the Crystal Sea. My third book: Off to visit the Prophet Elijah, on this one, the contract to publish has been completed and soon the book will be published.
    Warm regards

    William Dunigan
    http://www.eloquentbooks.com/BeyondTheGoldenSunsetAndByTheCrystalSea.html-

  9. avatar Gary

    I don’t feel as if such a creation as Free Game Friday could go on without mentioning Cave Story.

    http://www.miraigamer.net/cavestory/

    One of, if not the best freeware game out there.

    • avatar Jovana

      . You can also play against otehrs worldwide too! All you need is a compatible router or a Nintendo Wi-FI USB connector for that which was set up by my parents. Playing against otehrs makes it exciting, and a chance to tryout our skills against otehrs. My parents try them out first for our safety . I think they like to play them too . My favorites so far are like Mario Kart which only gives out your user name (we use nicknames instead of real names) and Clubhouse Games which displays your user name as well as select from a list of already made text messages as far as I know you can’t add your own text when online for this games. Other games may be different so it’s a good idea the parents do check. So far I haven’t come across any usernames that should be bleeped either so everyone seems to being playing nice or Nintendo has a way of screening them out. My parents still took the time to make sure my younger sister and brother knew why they shouldn’t give out personal information even when playing locally. The only decision left was did I want the original or Lite. There was only $10 difference when I bought mine. The regular DS is great, but I went with the Lite because the improvements made it better for me. I liked the looks and the brighter screens when comparing the store display DS Lite to the original DS. APPEARANCE I like the design! It’s trendy, fashinable, smaller, and I liked the soft feminine look of the coral pink. However, I liked the pearl pink and teal too of the original DS. They were limited editions and not available now so color does make a difference to me as well as size. Anything in softer shades instead of the bolder colors appeals more to me. I admit that I think lime green might be cool even though it’s bold. Anyway, I was so excited to see that the Lite was available in coral pink! Everything I was looking for! SCREENS I have some vision problems, and the brighter screens are a real plus. There are four settings so I can find one right for me almost anywhere I play including outside or on the go. My brother and sister’s were OK to play indoors, but I felt myself straining to see them in other lighting situations. The colors themselves seem bolder, crisper, and sharper. Really! BATTERY According to the manual for the original DS, it takes about 4 hours to charge. You can expect to get six to ten hours of game play on a fully charged battery depending on the game activitiy. This seems about right though the battery life will decrease over time. According to the manual for the DS Lite, it takes about 3 hours to charge and may last 15 to 19 hours depending on the lowest light setting or about 5 to 8 hours on the highest setting. Battery life also depends on the game activity. For example, I notice the battery drains quicker when using the Wireless feature to play games. I use the third or fourth (brighter settings), and it does seem to last a little longer than the original DS, but has with the brighter screen setting. STYLUS The DS Lite comes with two color-coordinated stylus that is a little longer and thicker than the original DS’s brown one. I find it easier to use. It also slides in the side instead of the back. LIGHTS AND MICROPHONE The two indicator lights and microphone are in the middle of the Lite and the front edge of the original DS. It’s a little easier to see the DS Lite’s lights when closed and notice them when the unit is open too. The light turns red when battery needs to be recharged, solid green when battery status is good, blinking green when in wireless mode, solid orange when plugged into AC and charging, etc. SOUND & BUTTONS The original DS might seems to have slightly louder sound, but both original DS and Lite are easy to hear with some good ear buds. Either version of DS includes a jack that will accept headphones or earbuds with a standard connector. The button layout is a little different. For example, the DS Lite power switch slides on and off on the

  10. avatar Khasan

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