The kingdom of ValientSkies was ripped apart by an evil dragon who took the princess as a souvenir. Sir Oliver led a fearless group of seven heroes who hunted down and sleigh the dragon. When Sir Oliver dealt the final blow and rescued the princess the others looted the lair for treasures.
Sir Oliver was left with a simple amulet, but also gained the love of his life in the Princess.
3 years pass, and Oliver isn’t in the shape he used to be, but life would change when out to fetch bread for his new wife.
The amulet had been harnessing all of the bad, and had created an evil Specter of Oliver, and now it’s up to Oliver to take down his darker side and warn each of his friends.
The amulet was starting to bring out the worst in all of them and these intelligently provide the boss characters as you progress.
Riding atop your trusty Gryphon Aquila, you venture through various locales, each with their own boss at the end, backgrounds are rich and detailed, which works both ways, they do look good (in the retro 8-bit inspired art direction) but they’re also a little distracting from the core side-scrolling shooter gameplay.
Characters, enemies and especially the boss’s each have their own recognizable characteristics, and methods of attack, and it’s held together well with a healthy dose of story which is considerably more than you expect from a 2D side-scrolling indie title.
While levels start to feel a little tedious, boss characters are the highlight, each feel fresh and new, you certainly won’t find Ikaruga difficulty, but you can still expect a bit of a challenge and with the story and impressive detail for 8-bit inspired graphics it’s quite a surprising little package.
Unfortunately much of the challenge, comes from the size of your main character, with Oliver sat atop Aquila, there’s a chunk of screen estate taken up by your hero making incoming projectiles that little bit more awkward to avoid, You are advised that Aquila can take far more damage but that didn’t stop a projectile clipping the Gryphon and still killing me off.
Sound effects, continue the retro arcade vibe, and fit the theme well. Sure they could have been better, but Gryphon night isn’t trying to be more than a fun old-school shooter.
You’ll read in detail about the events prior to the start of your quest, as well as conversations with the boss characters, who are your friends-turned-bad by the evil amulet, and it all adds to the impressive level of story embedded into the text based conversations.
Progressing through the levels will reward you gems with each enemies you shoot down, these offer various uprades and power-ups. Sadly the weapon upgrades seem too expensive and underpowered to worry about them too much.
You can also turn back on yourself to locate missed enemies, and this adds a little extra depth to the gameplay as you’re often required to backtrack for a second, but thankfully this doesn’t feel too demanding or irritating as you’ll soon be stumbling across your friendly boss characters who do a fantastic job of breaking up the 56 hour campaign.