Muffin Knight is currently available for free from BlackBerry App World for a limited time only, and I’d strongly recommend that you grab it while you have the chance – because it might be one of the best games available on the RIM-manufactured tablet. As the illustrated and voiced opening cinematic explains, the game’s story sees a young boy inadvertently causing a fairy’s basket of magic muffins to spontaneously send its contents into the sky, distributing the muffins all across the land. Angered, the fairy transforms the boy into a knight until he retrieves all of her muffins and brings them back to her – which, obviously, is your task as player.
While the premise is inherently silly, the gameplay is quite good fun. Players run around small levels, collecting muffins and killing baddies. Most interesting, though, is that upon collecting a muffin, you turn into a different character; for example, you’ll turn into a mage upon collecting a muffin as a knight, and into an archer upon collecting a muffin as a mage. These different characters have different skills and attacks, and experience points gained by killing enemies and collecting muffins unlock new levels and give you points to spend on levelling them up individually. New characters are also constantly unlocked, adding extra challenge in levelling and making the most of each.
The character design itself is inspired: the first unlockable character is a unicorn whose attack is literally passing excrement, which is rainbow-coloured and explodes on contact, with its splash damage allowing you to easily take out larger or multiple foes. As enemies will literally continue walking in one direction until they hit a wall, and then invert, it’s also possible to wait until they simply fall off the bottom of the level, but once they do so, they respawn incredibly angry, running much faster and proving even more of a threat, so it’s unwise to let this happen. Muffin Knight also includes a multiplayer mode, but there’s little in the way of a proper matchmaking solution, which makes joining random games impossible.
Besides its fun gameplay, Muffin Knight also has the advantage of being a gorgeous game. Its aesthetic is bright and colourful, staying in the same tone as its silly opening cinematic, but it also runs smoothly with no apparent lag issues, and generally looks very pretty. Given that the majority of high-profile PlayBook games are coming from Gameloft and look very obviously designed for a different (lower) resolution of device, it’s refreshing to see a nice production value on top of great art design. That’s thanks to Union, who ported the Unity-developed game to the PlayBook platform – and we hope to see many more games in its vein soon.