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Hand-Made Video-games

We make games about friendship and co-operation, with lots of character, art and heart!

 
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Knights And Bikes


Our debut game about two girls kicking up hell
on a small British island in the 1980s.

Knights And Bikes


Our debut game about two girls kicking up hell
on a small British island in the 1980s.

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Ready to saddle-up?!

KNIGHTS AND BIKES is a hand-painted action-adventure for 1 or 2 players, set on a British island in the 1980s.

It's a coming-of-age story starring Nessa & Demelza, exploring the coasts of Penfurzy on their trusty bikes, looking for a legendary lost treasure in a Goonies-inspired tale of excitement, danger, fun and friendship.

 

The two new friends, along with their pet-goose and the pickled-head of an undead knight, form the Penfurzy Rebel Bicycle Club, and are ready for anything this adventure throws at them. They pedal into danger to face threats head-on with frisbees, water-balloons, video game controllers and the powerful beats of an amplified boom-box. 

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Along the way they'll stuff their pockets with trinkets and barter for bike upgrades, spurring them onward down the island's country lanes, windswept beaches, deep forests, modern attractions and ancient ruins. 

Nessa, Demelza and Captain Honkers exploring Penfurzy Island

Nessa, Demelza and Captain Honkers exploring Penfurzy Island

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Explore the Island! Find the Real Treasure! (This one’s just a fake one for tourists!)

Explore the Island! Find the Real Treasure!
(This one’s just a fake one for tourists!)

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So as they face-up to the adult world, its their ingenuity, friendship, and wide-eyed-wonder that powers them onwards through the story.

Because together their friendship will create an adventure as big as their imaginations.

A game which grabs our attention and won’t let go.
— Engadget

KNIGHTS AND BIKES is from some of the award-winning creators of LittleBigPlanet, Ratchet & Clank, and Tearaway.

We’ve designed the game for one or two players (playing locally or online) because some of the best adventures are shared with a friend, just like the one we had making it!

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The game will be launching shortly, keep up to date by joining our email-list below, following us on Twitter or adding it to your wish-list on Steam or GOG!

All of this was made possible because of our Kickstarter backers who provided the funding for us to make it in March 2016. The finished game will be published by Double Fine Presents. Yay!

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What do you do?


Knights And Bikes is a video game, for one or two players.

But how do you actually play it?

What do you do?


Knights And Bikes is a video game, for one or two players.

But how do you actually play it?

 
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Knights And Bikes is a story-based game, so you get to play around within the events that happen and you drive the tale forward, which lasts for six pivotal days in the life of our heroines.

It’s mostly about exploration, so each day you’ll be finding new areas of the island that you haven’t explored yet and looking for clues to find the legendary cursed treasure of Penfurzy island. So you’ll cycle around the main island level on your bikes, gradually unlocking more areas of the map as you upgrade your cycles.

There are 6 different main-areas or “levels” to be found on the island, one per day of the game’s story. And in those levels you’ll be doing a combination of exploring, solving puzzles, talking to characters, and fighting off the ancient curse that protects the treasure. And those levels you’ll be visiting range from a harbour town to a theme-park, a golf-course and a hazardous scrap metal yard.

 
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Improvised Abilities!

In order to find the treasure, and keep the ancient-curse at bay, Nessa and Demelza use a number of different abilities to interact with the world and each other. They don’t have access to laser-guns and chainsaws (which is probably a good thing!) So they have to make do with whatever they can get their hands on, like these examples:

  • Frisbees (For throwing at enemies and triggering switches)

  • Water-Balloons (Puts out fires, splashes enemies)

  • Rubber Welly-Boots (Bursts water-balloons and for puddle-stomping)

  • Toilet-Plungers (Makes popping mines and grapples distant objects)

  • The Game Gauntlet (A game controller which is surprisingly powerful)

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Upgrade Your Bikes!

Your bikes are how you get around the island, and certain upgrades will allow you to get to areas you couldn’t visit before. But you’ll also want to look good when you’re in the saddle and maybe show-off to your co-op partner.

So there are plenty of cosmetic ways to upgrade your bike as well, which include:

  • Paint jobs and colourful padding.

  • Flags and decorated chain-guards.

  • Spokey-Dokey Snap-On Beads.

  • A range of bells, horns and digital noise-makers.

  • Front-mounted tea-tray shields and teddy-bear mascots.

  • Jamming a card in the wheels to make that special motorbike noise!

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New wheels, custom paint jobs, pirate-flags. Express yourself in bicycle form!
(Click to Expand)


Player Abilities can be combined together. A well timed welly-boot kick from Demelza will make Nessa’s frisbee travel further.

Player Abilities can be combined together. A well timed welly-boot kick from Demelza will make Nessa’s frisbee travel further.

Help and Challenge Each Other!

Whether you’re playing two-player or alone, lots of the game is about the interaction between Nessa and Demelza and how they can help each other. So all their abilities have been designed so they can combine together in useful ways (For example: Demelza can kick Nessa’s water-balloons, or electrify the puddles they create)

But sometimes, you just feel like a little challenge as a way of blowing off some steam. Throughout the story are a number of mini-challenges between the two girls. These are moments where one will challenge the other to a race, or a timed-collection mission or some more unusual wagers!

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Who’s it for?


Who’s it for?


Plenty of 1980’s coming-of-age nostalgia for parents. Plenty of adventure for the younger players! (Click to Expand)

Here’s an invite you can use if you want to invite a pal to CO-OP with you..

We’ve designed Knights And Bikes with co-op play in mind (although you can still play it single player thanks to some clever AI and by switching between the characters with the shoulder-buttons on the controller).

Previously we all worked on the team which made LittleBigPlanet, so we know how much fun there is to be had from playing sat together with friends, or with more distant pals online.

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It’s a friendly game, with a ESRB Rating of E for Everyone and a PEGI rating of 7. So all-ages can play, and from taking it to gaming events and from the emails we’ve received from players we know it’s a popular game for parents to play with their kids (Recommended age: 7-13)

But like an episode of Adventure Time or Gravity Falls there’s lots of artistry, humour and depth to experience to make it something to enjoy with adult friends too!

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Inspirations


Inspirations


A Little Look Behind-The-Scenes

What went into making this thing?

 
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Cornwall

Penfurzy Island is based directly on a region of the UK called Cornwall, it’s where Rex grew up (Knights And Bikes’ artist/designer). Cornwall is a very beautiful region, with a ragged stormy coastline, dotted with little fishing-towns sheltering from the storms, wide open moorlands and deep wooded valleys. It was once a very industrial part of the world due to the tin-mining that was its major industry, and that encouraged a lot of technological innovation. For example it was in Cornwall that the steam-train was invented and it also had the first house in the world lit by gas.

“St. Ives Harbour” by Alfred Wallis  (1855-1942) Wallis was a Cornish fisherman and artist, who’s subject matter and unusual perspective has been influential on the games art-style.

“St. Ives Harbour” by Alfred Wallis (1855-1942)
Wallis was a Cornish fisherman and artist, who’s subject matter and unusual perspective has been influential on the games art-style.

Influential Games & Films

Apart from the setting, we’ve been influenced by some of our favourite games and movies from childhood. For Knights And Bikes’ programmer Moo, a large influence has been Secret of Mana, and the cooperation the game required and those special feelings of shared victories with a friend. For Rex it was the game Earthbound and its combination of everyday life combined with an RPG in a story told with humour as well as melancholy and wistfulness.

Our initial goal with the game was it make it very close to Richard Donner’s The Goonies (1985). During this phase the game would have been about managing a gang of kids. But after a lot of iteration and playing we didn’t feel connected enough to this larger group of kids and all their backstories. So we trimmed things back to our favourite two characters: Nessa and Demelza.

Art-Style

The goal with the art-style is to try and represent how kids look at the world, and how they would try and represent the story if they had to show someone else what happened.

So the game is painted with the kinds of materials they would have: pastels, chalk, and poster-paint. And sometimes as the girls get carried away with their imaginations, you’ll see their visions drawn onto the landscape as the reality and fantasy combine.

It’s animated in a stop-motion style so that the world is always shifting and moving, both representing the stormy blustery setting of Penfurzy Island, but also the endless energy of being a pair of kids on an adventure, and never being able to sit-still!

Demelza running through a range of emotions in the game’s stop-motion “line boil” style.

Demelza running through a range of emotions in the game’s stop-motion “line boil” style.

Like any game, audio also plays a huge role in the atmosphere and tone. But before anything bespoke had been created for the game, the biggest influence was probably taken from listening to Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood while painting early versions of the scenery (go on, have a listen now).

Since Kenny (Audio-Design) and Daniel (Music) joined the project they’ve been able to add fresh layers to the experience. Kenny has not only added all the sounds and atmospherics you might expect to hear, he’s added an extra layer of sound that represent the girls imagined thoughts as well. A particular favourite is when you jump on your bikes you might notice a subtle whinny of a horse, suggesting the girls are mounting their steeds, just like those knights-of-old that they are tracking.

And Daniels score really helps develop the emotional aspect of the game. Not just moments of sadness and loss but also those joyful times of unbridled childhood energy and optimism. Perfect for when you’re tearing down the side of mountain as fast as your bike can carry you, with wind in your hair, mud on your knees and your anorak blowing backwards like a super-hero cape.

Going back further in time, it’s a country steeped in legend, with what is said to be King Arthur’s castle jutting out of the cliffs at local village Tintagel. And that Arthurian influence is right there in the “Knights” of the games title, and our heroines search for a hidden castle and its guarded treasures within.

So Cornwall provides a rich and more unusual setting for Knights And Bikes. The beauty of the region, and its more mysterious past combines with the harsher realities of modern times, where its traditional industries are in decline and what will replace them remains in question.

We’ve not held back on local references and unusual foods and customs, so there will be lots to surprise players. But we’ve also made sure with our US publishers that it’s still understandable and enjoyable for a wide audience!

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Advice for future game-creators: have as much fun as you can in sketchbooks, it’s the quickest way to generate and store ideas!

Advice for future game-creators: have as much fun as you can in sketchbooks, it’s the quickest way to generate and store ideas!

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Foam Sword?


Foam Sword?


Foam Sword is a collaboration between some game-making friends that have been making games for a while but always want to learn new things. They are:

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Rex Crowle

“I was Creative Lead of Tearaway at Media Molecule, did art & design for LittleBigPlanet1&2, created EpicWin, made telly-shows & is a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit.”

 

Moo Yu

“I've been a gameplay programmer on Ratchet & Clank and LittleBigPlanet, creator of Ring Fling and MonstrosCity.”

Collaborators

Kenny Young

Kenny has been making games professionally since 2004 and is best known for his work as Head of Audio at Media Molecule, the startup he joined in 2007, where he was responsible for the audio experiences in their smash hit, critically acclaimed LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway franchises. More recently he’s been creating sound design and music for Astrobot, Wonder Worlds and Tethered.

Daniel Pemberton

Daniel Pemberton is an Ivor Novello winning and multi-BAFTA nominated composer well known for embracing a wide range of musical mediums. Daniel's recent work includes the score for Spiderman: Enter The Spiderverse (2018) Steve Jobs (2015) Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015) and Ridley Scott's The Counselor (2013)

 

Game Recipes


Game Recipes


Things to make!

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It’s not just Nessa and Demelza that get to munch through delicious treats during their adventure, you can too with our recipe-card series, starting off with this jam scone recipe (more coming soon).

PDF Downloads

And we’d love to see photos of anything you do bake on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube (Links below)