Bumper Knights ($1.00) is a bit of an oddity. A top-down version of bumper cars (supporting up to four players locally) with springboard walls and very light RPG elements, coated in a medieval adventure frosting with a story so light, you don’t even know what’s going on or who’s who until you read the biography cards that you unlock upon completion.
To start, you choose from four different adventurer types, split evenly among the sexes. Each comes with their own default weapon (a lance, axe, etc.). You can then set off on a pre-written quest, or christen your own. In theory, that adventure then becomes ‘your adventure’ in the naming, with a procedurally-generated layout and enemy spawns. I say ‘in theory’, as your quest takes you through several forest, town, and castle-themed rooms, most of which were reused during the three different quests I saw through to the end.
Combat is somewhat simplistic, but fun, using momentum (think of winding up a toy) to launch your hero around the room, striking enemies and ricocheting off walls and objects in the environment. Enemies combat you in the same manner. Some have more powerful weapons and attacks than your hero (such as a health-draining freeze spell), so there is a bit of strategy involved in taking down multiple foes and dodging their retaliatory stabs.
Evil King is Evil.
There’s also some added variables in the form of powerups. These drop randomly, and offer health refills or the possibility of a stronger weapon. Bumper Knights is anything but difficult, though, and you can easily press start on a second controller to continue the fight as another adventurer, should you need to. You’re not missing much, as each character gets the same stock animation ending.
It’s that same simplicity in design and the short attention span of its quests (funny one-liners galore) that derails Bumper Knights’ completely-metaphorical tire-wrapped vehicle. It might’ve fared better with a more-involved combat system and plot, or additional environments. As is, twenty minutes of bumping into people with swords and spears does not a good adventure make.