Review – Knight Vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur

Who doesn’t like roguelites? They’re everywhere nowadays, and come in all shapes and sizes. You have the massive, bound-for-greatness ones like Returnal, the small indie hits like Dead Cells or Hades, and everything in between. To add to roguelites being everywhere, they basically come out on a weekly basis as well, making it impossible to keep up with them all and find the ones you actually want to play. One of the newer ones is PQube’s Knight Vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur, which as you can probably guess, is focused around King Arthur and the Excalibur.

Broken Excalibur camelot

Good Ol’ Camelot will never fall

The main premise of Knight Vs Giant is that a giant showed up, destroyed Camelot, killed King Arthur and the knights of the round table, and Merlin brought Arthur back to life but in some spiritual world where Camelot was transported to. All caught up? Good. The other part is that Excalibur is broken, if that wasn’t already obvious. With the help of the dead, you’re tasked with tracking down THE Giant, defeating it, and hopefully returning Camelot back to earth. Simple.

“What does ‘help from the dead’ mean?” I can hear you muttering at your screen. Well, even though the knights of the round table, Lancelot, Gawain, ect, are all dead, they can talk to you through statues and grant you powers. While Excalibur is broken, you’ll be able to use their weapons and their abilities. Going into each run you’ll be able to pick one weapon, and one special ability to take with you, they don’t have to be from the same knight, so mix and match. In the beginning there will only be two knights unlocked, but as you progress the game, more will be unlocked. Through each run, you’ll be able to find more statues for the knight, or knights, that you’ve chosen, which will grant upgrades and perks that last the remainder of your run. Think of it like the gods in Hades. They all offer different abilities, but get better as you find good combinations.

Broken Excalibur combat

Enemies include something wearing a mask and sentient mushrooms.

You traverse an open map, not unlike Enter the Gungeon or The Binding of Isaac. There are different rooms, and different rewards to find like a shop room, a healing room, and rewards like money, or perks. There are a fair assortment of enemies, but none are overly interesting. They basically come across as “what would you see in a forest? Rocks, frogs maybe. Okay, what would you see in the desert?” It’s fun, but it’s not interesting. Much like most roguelites, areas end in a boss. Every boss is some form of giant, not The Giant because that would be too easy, but a giant nonetheless. They all have their own gimmicks like launching rocks that affect an area, or spawning tentacle roots that damage you if you touch them. Some of the fights can be pretty tough, but usually they’re not too bad after one or two goes and understanding what’s happening.

Broken Excalibur

“I hate sand…” – Anakin Skywalker

Outside of runs, you’re back in Camelot. In Camelot outside of choosing your weapons for the next run, there is also some room for improvement. First off every run you’ll gather experience for whatever knight you take a weapon or magic from. It’s never explicitly stated, but it would appear that it’s also based on how much you actually use the weapon or magic against enemies, so if you really want to level up a knight quickly, take their weapon and their magic. Part of Camelot can also be upgraded, like rebuilding the walls, or the pathways. You’ll also find people throughout the runs that want to run a smithy, or a library, which you’ll be able to rebuild as well. Basically, outside of runs is your pretty standard roguelite hub world experience.

Broken Excalibur bosses

What’s worse than a sentient mushroom? Giant sentient mushroom!

Knight Vs Giant is a pretty fine looking game. It’s nothing to write home about, but the visuals are fine. One big thing I will give the game is that they have found an effective way to continue showing your character and enemies when they’re behind things in the foreground or behind larger enemies, like giants. There’s no more chance to complain that enemies are attacking you and you can’t see them. In terms of music, it’s fine. It matches the atmosphere, but these aren’t songs I would personally listen to outside of playing the game unlike some OSTs. Maybe the Camelot song, it’s quite magical feeling, so that might be one to slip into the playlist.

Broken Excalibur results

Game over, you lose. Don’t pass GO!

Roguelites are everywhere and there’s a million to play at this point, this generation alone. Knight Vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur may not be the best of them, but it’s a fine game all the same. The controls are fluent and responsive, and it’s fun to sit down and play for a run or two. The runs don’t feel overly different from one to the next the way they can in other games of the sort, but that’s only a small issue. Overall a fun experience and an easy game to pick up and play for 20-30 minutes at a time when you can find a small break.

Graphics: 7.5

Knight Vs Giant looks good. Everything is pretty well distinct while playing which is really important. The way enemies telegraph there attacks is obvious, even in different backgrounds. Some enemy designs feel a bit lazy, but that’s the worst of it.

Gameplay: 7.0

The controls feel fluent and it’s easy to understand how to play. Controls are fully customisable which is nice because I like using triggers for attacks. Runs are quick, and the difficilty will keep anyone that enjoys the game coming back.

Sound: 5.5

There’s not a whole lot to talk about when it comes to sound. The music fits, there’s not much that will really perk up the ears. There’s minimal voice acting, but if you like grunts you’re in for a treat.

Fun Factor: 6.5

I can see myself returning to Knight Vs Giant randomly, and even picking it up on Switch for easy access. It’s very competent in what it’s aiming to be. The issue is, it’s aiming to be a game that’s been done incredibly well multiple times over already.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Knight Vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X.

A copy of Knight Vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur was provided by the publisher.