The Binding of Isaac was an influential game in many ways. The main being that it popularized the action rogue-lite. That can be seen in titles such as Enter the Gungeon and now Burning Knight. The problem is that these titles have become incredibly popular. So much that it becomes difficult for one to distinguish itself from another. This then puts the question on every new title, what does this do better than any of the other flood of games that do the same thing.
In Burning Knight’s case, the answer is not much.
The problems with the game start early, mainly when the game tries to establish a plot that is quickly abandoned and ignored. Which is fine, as not everything has to be The Binding of Isaac and have some kind of deep and meaningful symbology to it. But issues are quickly compounded as the game progresses as any amount of action on the screen quickly makes the game a slideshow, which pretty much results in death. This is an issue for a pixel art game that goes from 800+ fps to suddenly single digits when there is more than one explosion on the screen.
The game has the standard fair of “the more you play the more you unlock,” but none of it ever felt rewarding or interesting. More weapons could become opened, and more hats for the character could be purchased, but all of them felt bland. Nothing felt like it was pushing the game forward. None of it added any drive to go further, or to go on.
There were moments, especially when first starting, that things seemed to click rather well. Sections seem to fit and the game seemed like genuine fun. It had the standard unknown exploration and discovery through death mechanic that is normal in the genre. For the first 45 or so minutes of play the game seemed to be a rather enjoyable experience. That is until all of the problems started appearing, and the game itself managed to suck all drive of continuing out.
Burning Knight isn’t a bad game, but the problem is that it isn’t middling either. It is broken and lacking. Those problems make it more of a tragedy than anything else, because there really could have been something here if it just had a little something extra. While it isn’t outside of the realm of possibility that the devs might come back and fix it, or a fan might make a mod or patch for it, I wouldn’t hold my breath or recommend the purchase.