Review – Bucket Knight (Xbox One)

Pigeon.Dev went above and beyond with their recent console port of their game Bucket Knight. This is a game that was originally out solely for Steam and managed, above all odds, to make the transition over to Xbox One, where I got to experience all its glory. Bucket Knight advertises itself as a run-and-gun platformer, which in the most basic sense is indeed true: you move, shoot, and platform, at least to the best of the abilities that the game will let you.


At least monsters can build a fire.

First thing to point out is the CRT screen effect that the game has, which feels really, really unnatural. I understand that Bucket Knight uses pixel art, so we all know it’s a retro-inspired game, but the added effect on top is super unnecessary. Bucket Knight starts off with a basic story, so basic that it’s a bit hard to understand what it is because it’s all explained in a bunch of emojis. From my understanding, you want to buy a house, house costs money, no money no house, so go shoot things and get money. With that, you head out with your pistol and a bucket on your head to get money. Instantly, it’s time to learn how broken this game is. Where to start is a hard task, because listing the things that work well in Bucket Knight is actually a much shorter endeavor.


Look mom, I can fly!

First things first, the collision detection with walls and floors is a mess. If you stand too close to a wall, which is sometimes needed to kill enemies without taking a ton of damage, you get caught on the wall when trying to jump. Somehow, part of the wall collision sticks out further than the wall. But this also means that if you jump into a wall, there’s a chance you’ll land on an invisible texture, leaving you directly in front of an enemy as they shoot and force you to restart from the beginning.

Speaking of restarting a level from the beginning, it would be wise to let players know that there’s a dedicated restart button on the controller. Learning halfway through a level that pressing the “Y” button just resets the level is beyond frustrating. It’s also generally worth noting that the hero is lactose intolerant. Meaning, when you collect fruit it heals you, but if you collect cheese, you take as much damage as you do from spikes. That’s just normally something you should note to the player. The platforms you jump on also have some interesting hit boxes. You can jump through most of the floors, except at the corner of them. The corners have walls that will stop you dead in your tracks. The last collision issue is anywhere on the floor that has spikes. Spikes are not an instakill trap like in a Mega Man game, they deal some damage, but that’s all. Weirdly enough, the floor under the spikes doesn’t actually feature any collision. If you land on spikes, you’ll actually fall an extra block through the floor underneath them.


At least spikes only hurt your feet, all you have to do is stand under them.

Onto the second biggest issue. For anyone who has ever played an old text-based RPG, this may be something you understand all too well. Pressing buttons too quickly is something that freaks the game out. Before we get too far into it, it’s worth noting that there is some use to money in Bucket Knight, you can use it to buy different guns instead of just using a pistol. These include a machine gun, a shotgun, and a minigun. All of which sound the exact same when you shoot them. I only bring up the guns because, if you shoot your machine gun or minigun too quickly after jumping, it’s no longer fully automatic. You will now need to press the button each time to shoot a single shot. You also can’t jump too soon after shooting, you also can’t use your double jump if you press jump too soon after jumping.

About halfway through the game, I decided to try something. Since I had all the guns already, and there was literally no other reason to collect money after that, I stopped killing things. Instead, I wanted to see if it was possible to just run through a level and ignore everything, which you actually can. You’re only looking at about 45-60 seconds per level if you do this. That is insanely short in a game that only has 19 levels, with the final one being a mere nine seconds long. The soundtrack to Bucket Knight also doesn’t match the gameplay at all, with all of the music being completely out of tune with how “run-and-gun” the game is meant to be. That being said, there is one good song in the game, so I won’t take that away from it.


The best sight in Bucket Knight, the end.

Beginning to end, Bucket Knight took an hour to turn on, beat, and get every achievement. This ended up being a game that required a lot of patience, as the controls, collision, textures, and basically everything else ended up being an absolute mess. I couldn’t help but ask the entire way through the game if there was any quality assurance put into it. It’s one thing that Bucket Knight was out on Steam, which is known for their shovelware. It’s a completely different questionable move when it comes to consoles. I will say though, I appreciate that most of the achievements are references to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so that’s something at least.

Graphics: 1.0

Retro style art is one thing, but throwing a CRT TV filter on top of really underwhelming pixel art is pretty hard to forgive.

Gameplay: 0.5


In the words of the text based RPG Shimlar, “DON’T CLICK TOO FAST”. I never thought in 2020, I would be punished for pressing jump, then shooting right after. The collision detection is also completely broken.

Sound: 1.0

All the guns sound the same. None of the music matches the game. Enemies don’t make any noise. The only saving grace is the one decent song featured in here.

Fun Factor: 0.5

It’s completely unforgivable for a game that’s been out since September 2019 on Steam to be this broken on console.

Final Verdict: 0.5

Bucket Knight is available now on PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Bucket Knight was provided by the publisher.