Review – Candle Knight

There’s something interesting about any game where we control a small character tackling normal human environments as if they were massive structures, full of obstacles and ordeals to pass through. I guess this is what made games like Army Men, Micro Machines, Toy Story 2, and Clockwork Knight appealing in the past, especially the latter. It wasn’t very good, but it sure was unique. Candle Knight, from Mexican developer Dracma Studio, is yet another to be added to this list, clearly taking a bit of an influence from Clockwork Knight, but using that interesting concept in a much darker, and also better, game.

Candle Knight Combat

Combat is decent, if not a bit formulaic. That “rage” meter of sorts becomes more of a hindrance than a useful feature, though.

Despite the name, you don’t play as a literal candle with swords. Lumiére didn’t become a paladin. You take control of a small knight (clockwork or not, that remains to be seen) who just so happens to have a wick on top of its head. Oddly enough, that knight did remind me a lot of Charcadet, a Fire-Type pokémon from Scarlet and Violet. Other enemies and NPCs feel more like clockwork dolls and figurines than yourself, though. You will also face more otherwordly enemies, as well as bugs and vermin.

At its core, Candle Knight is nothing more than a very straightforward 2.5D metroidvania. Explore pseudo-interconnected levels, acquire new power-ups which will help you bypass obstacles, improve your equipment, and fend off against some enemies. Nothing too complex. The only noteworthy gameplay element that prevents it from being considered a by-the-books platformer is the inclusion of a neat little feature where you’re able to transport yourself into a series of paintings in order to solve small puzzles, which then activate something in the main hub world.

Candle Knight Paintings

Jump into paintings and interact with their backgrounds in order to solve puzzles in the “real” world.

Design-wise, Candle Knight gets the job done. The levels are well-designed, although the lack of a map functionality makes backtracking a nuisance after unlocking more power-ups and special abilities. The visuals are stellar. Between the lighting effects, excellent textural work, and shockingly fluid character animations, this game looks absolutely beautiful. It manages to strike a delicate balance between realistic and fantastic, given how the game as whole oozes Tim Burton vibes from all of its pores. You can even hear these influences with its Elfman-esque, “cheerful but with hints of darkness” soundtrack.

But here’s the kicker: Candle Knight is very flawed when it comes to its gameplay. At first glance, it doesn’t sound so bad on paper. After all, this is, as mentioned, a very straightforward platformer. You move, jump, attack, dash, do a neat little wall jump in order to reach higher areas, and so on. The problem lies in your movement and your physics. Jumping feels terrible. It’s so imprecise, and in a platformer, it’s a big issue. This is mostly due to how the height and length of your jump are tied to how long you hold down the A button, which suffers from a bit of input lag. There’s also a big issue tied to jumping momentum. You can freely change the direction of your jump while in mid-air, but all momentum is suddenly halted if you decide to press an attack button.

Candle Knight Crouch

‘Scuse me. Coming through.

That’s not an issue at first, but once you reach further levels in the game, aerial combat becomes a mainstay. Having to deal with enemies in the air, while still trying to avoid their attacks, becomes nigh impossible. Add in a bizarre “rage” meter, which basically increases your character’s strength at the cost of your defense if you keep on attacking too many enemies in a short span of time, and progress in Candle Knight becomes a nuisance during these sections. It is stuff you can get used to with the right mindset and level of patience, mind you, but it’s worth pointing out.

Candle Knight Victory

“Look at me, mommy! I’m a real warrior now!”

Candle Knight‘s premise and presentation are what carry it. As a platformer itself, it’s decent enough, with some great level designs and one neat little gimmick, but it’s also hindered by poor controls and physics. The outstanding graphics, interesting environments and Elfman-inspired music will mostly make you forget about these setbacks and let you dive into this bizarre, but oddly charming world. All in all, it’s a decent little game, and worth checking out if you can put up with some technical hindrances.


Graphics: 9.0

It may be a flawed game in its gameplay department, but I cannot deny the fact that Candle Knight looks absolutely gorgeous, both in stills and in motion.

Gameplay: 6.5

There are two problems with the otherwise competent controls: jumping feels terrible, and all jumping momentum is halted if you decide to attack an enemy while in air.

Sound: 7.5

The typical Elfman-esque soundtrack you would expect from a fantasy game with some dark undertones. It gets the job done, with honors.

Fun Factor: 7.0

The premise and visuals are the main highlight. The gameplay is a bit flawed, namely in the platforming and metroidvania elements. All in all, it’s decent, and worth checking out if you can put up with some technical hindrances.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Candle Knight is available now on PC.

Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB.

A copy of Candle Knight was provided by the publisher.