Jay Tee Games Alliance. Only For Everyone.

Est. April 2016. III Version 2.0. III





The adventure of a lifetime.


When two of the leading minds behind the physics anarchy of LittleBigPlanet, and the paper craft sweetness of Tearaway, decided to jump ship and start anew, Foam Sword Games was born. Rex Crowle and Moo Yu, the dynamic duo calling the shots behind this brand new enterprise, have tapped into feverish demand for an authentic coop adventure, following a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign.

Set in a fictionalised version of Cornwall in the late 1980’s, you play as either Nessa or Demelza, two children that could easily be a cross between Iota from Media Molecule’s Vita classic, and basically anyone from the Goonies. There’s imaginary forts to invade, wide open spaces to explore, and distractions aplenty.

We went hands on with the latest demo at a ‘backer event’ in London. As a result, Knights and Bikes has become one of our most anticipated games of the year.
SIDE NOTE: I missed, and therefore did not back, the Kickstarter campaign.

THE BASICS - A hand-painted action-adventure set on a fictional British island in the late 1980’s. There’s exploration, puzzle solving, and combat.


PLAYERS - Offline - 1-2, Online - 1-2

CO-OP? MULTIPLAYER? - The entire campaign is playable in
co-op, both locally and online.

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT - Nothing has been announced.

TARPS? - At the bottom of all our previews, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.


Back of the Box - A broad overview of key features and gameplay mechanics.

Get Schooled - Background info on the developer, fun facts, and viewing the game in a broader context.

Inside Scoop - Random thoughts and musings, along with hopes and concerns.

Exploring off the set path is at the core of the gameplay. I found myself stumbling across all manner of cool distractions and activities, just by indulging my curiosity.


The BEST WITH FRIENDS badge is earned if a game is significantly more fun playing with people you know, either in campaign or online.

The PICK UP AND PLAY badge is for when a game is better suited to brief, impromptu sessions that give a quick blast of escapism.

The LONE WOLF badge tells you that a particular game can only be played, or is more enjoyable, when
you’re flying solo.

The DEEP DIVE badge is a heads up that what you’re about to play is a huge undertaking, and best enjoyed in extended periods.

The KITCHEN SINK badge is an indication of a game that is
bursting at the seams with content (either on disc or DLC).

The BAM! DONE! badge lets you know that within minutes of picking up the controller, you can play this like a pro.

The HOT POTATO badge makes a really clear statement: this
game is making waves, and it’s
definitely worth a  look.

The LEARNING CURVE badge is awarded if you’ll need to allow a fair bit of time in
order to fully
grasp the controls.


The SCEPTICAL FACE badge is for when a game doesn’t leave a strong first impression. Perhaps more
time is needed to decide?

The LEFT FIELD badge is awarded when a game surprises us by being really good and it hadn’t previously been on our radar.

The HMM… FIREWORKS badge is earned when a game features excellent particle, lighting, or atmospheric effects.

The BARREL OF LAUGHS badge is for when a game boasts a keen, sharp wit and several laugh out loud moments.

The BIG STINKER badge is awarded when a huge AAA budget title turns out to be a letdown that leaves us feeling cold.  

The BOOTS ON THE GROUND badge is for a game you need to play as soon as possible. Don’t leave this one for your backlog!

The SMALL FRY badge is for a title from a smaller development team that is absolutely worth your time and should not be ignored.

The LOBBY LAG badge is for when the multiplayer side of things is lacking features, and/or runs very poorly.

The SLICK RICK badge is earned when the soundtrack, effects, and / or overall audio design is fantastic across the board.

The COUCH MADNESS badge is awarded when a game nails split/same screen gameplay.

The CAPTAIN KEYES badge is for a game that has memorable, well written characters that leave a lasting impression.

The LAME WAD badge is used in the event a game has particularly bad dialogue or cheesy voice acting that distracts from the story.    

The RE-TARP badge is earned when a game offers more of the same. It’s up to you to decide whether that’s good or bad.

The HOMEBOY badge is for the kind of game that is perfect for playing at home, AND when you’re on the go.  

The MILO & KATE badge is for a game that we don’t think will look the same from reveal to release, or perhaps even see the light of day…  

The MIS-TARPED badge is for a game that’s supposed to represent one genre, but turns into something else.

The SHOVELWARE badge is for something that feels rushed, or launches without key features that would have made a big difference.

The IT’S A TARP! badge is awarded when a game offers a real challenge, in single player and/or multiplayer.

The ON ME! JONESY! badge is earned when getting into a multiplayer game is quick and easy, with a robust matchmaking / party system.

The BREACH ON ZULU badge is awarded for a game that consistently demands intelligent strategy / tactics.

The TRANSPORTER BUFFER badge is for a game that requires you to carefully manage your inventory and supplies.

The JUST ONE MINUTE MAN badge is for a game that keeps making you come back for just one more go.

The TOO MANY TARPS badge is awarded when a game has a lot of content, but no real substance or depth.

The JUMPED THE TARP badge is for a game that has had one too many sequels, and should be radically rebooted or retired completely.

The PICK N’ MIX badge is awarded for a game that has a wide variety of things to do, or continually presents new mechanics / ideas.  

The SCRATCH THAT RASH badge is for a game you should take a risk on. You might love it!  

The HYPE-O-SPRAY badge is for a game that has, or may yet become, a victim of its own hype.

The 1, 2, DITCH badge is for a game that has been poorly explained and/or received a lot of bad press.

The BOOGEYMAN TWO badge is for a game with a collection of strong, varied enemies to face.

The SEA OF THIEVES badge is for a co-op game that is truly memorable.

The WEAPON DROP badge is for a game that features superb weapon / item design.

The YOSHI’S EYELIDS badge is for a game where the facial animation leaves much to be desired…

The BREAK THE TARGETS badge is for a game that has excellent side quests and/or optional missions and activities.

The YAR! BEARS! badge is for a game that is played (or should be played) by Adam Burleigh.

The SHODDY CODDY badge is for a game includes mechanics or controls that just don’t feel right.

The TROLLOLOL badge is for a game with sudden spikes in difficulty.

The WAGGLE YOUR LIPS badge is for a game with terrible pacing and/or too often takes control away from the player.

The KABOOM! badge is for a game that has excellent explosions (with Halo 1 frag grenades being the gold standard).

The PUMPKIN LOOK badge is for a game where the art style, graphics, and/or presentation are on top form.

The FALCO FEEL badge is earned when the gameplay mechanics, controls, and/or learning curve feel just right.

The POPPY SOUND badge is for a game where the music, sound effects, and/or dialogue are superb.

The POM POM EXPERIENCE badge is earned when a game produces numerous great anecdotes or stories.

The QUANTUM OF SOLACE badge is for a game that is played (or should be played) by Mike Hazleton.

The DEALBREAKER badge is for a game where one or two crucial mis-steps is enough to put you off.

The SARU’S GANGLIA badge is for a game that does a great job of immersing you in its world.

The FADING CIRCLE badge is for a game with extremely poor environmental interactivity and/or object physics.

The SCRIPT SUPERVISOR badge is for a game with incredibly quotable dialogue.

The BEVERLY badge is for a game so good that it would make even Jean-Luc Picard want to spend time with Wesley.

The WII SPORTS badge is for a game that even non-gamers would recognise as being something truly special.

The BUFF TING badge is for a game that has an excessive number of patches, or requires a huge day 1 update.

The LEAVES ON THE LINE badge is for a game where awkwardly placed geometry and/or bad level design causes you to get unintentionally stuck.

The DISCO TECH badge is for a mini game compilation or party game that’s (perhaps surprisingly) really good!

The OOKLA badge is for a game with inconsistent server performance and/or frequent lag.

The LOOT ON THE ROOT badge is for a game with lots of different collectibles, items, and other bits and pieces.

The OOBLEH! badge is for a game that has a dodgy or inconsistent framerate.

The DIGITAL FOUNDRAJON badge is for a game that pushes technical boundaries with cutting edge presentation.

The ATOUBA badge is for a game that features a loveable character (or characters).

The IT WORKS SO WELL badge is for a game with characters you’re truly invested in.

The CLONE WARS badge is for a game with lots of repeated character models.

The JASON DUFNER badge is for a game with a limited choice of playable characters.

The CONGLOMERATE badge is for a game where characters frequently clip through surfaces.

The CLOONEY badge is for a game with outstanding character design.

The SKYPE RINGTONE badge is for a game with a catchy soundtrack that you can’t help but love.

The WAR-ROCK! badge is for a game that absolutely deserves ongoing player support.

The LAWBREAKERS badge is for a game that is unlikely to get long term player support.

The EPIC RESPAWN badge is for a game with superb post launch developer support.

The TEARS OF BORE badge is for a series that just needs a break. Please. Just stop.

The NOOB COMBO badge is for a game that lacks balance in multiplayer.

The SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES badge is for a game that unnecessarily restricts co-op and/or multiplayer.

The JACK CARVER badge is for a game with stereotypical or unimaginative characters.

The ROMULAJON badge is for a game that is played (or should be played) by
Jay Tee.

The BLEEDING EYES badge is for a game where bump mapping doesn’t happen as often as you might think…

The BEN’S PISS CUP badge is for inexcusably lazy game design that both confuses and infuriates.

The MOLYNEUX’S LIES badge is for a game which fails to deliver on basic promised features.

The ROLL THE DICE badge is for a game surrounded by easily avoidable controversy.

The THEY’VE FU**ED IT badge is for a game that really should have been so much better…

The TEN DAY RETURNS badge is for a game so disappointing you wish you could get your money back.


A WHOLE NEW WORLD - The main hub area is quite large, with plenty of wide open spaces just begging to be explored. Travelling by bike is therefore a necessity, and those vehicle mechanics are sprinkled with many wonderful touches. The asthma inhaler that pops up when you run out of stamina, the sense of increasing momentum as you hammer at the controls.. You can even customise the look of your trusty metal steed with flags, spoke trinkets, and mud guards, alongside more practical upgrades which grant access to previously unreachable locations.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE - Interacting with the world, and the characters within it, is an absolute joy. You can poke and prod around almost every inch of the play space for hidden trinkets or alternate routes. Combined with light puzzle solving, sudden combat encounters, and the occasional impromptu foot race (they are kids, after all), you will never be short of things to see and do.

FEED THE ANIMALS - Whether you’re playing solo, or with a friend, both Nessa and Demelza are always together. You’re accompanied by the ever faithful Captain Honkers, a highly intelligent Goose who can sniff out secrets, attack enemies, and get depressed if you don’t feed him enough. Side note: there is an optional ‘scratching his belly’ animation that is so endearing, I almost gave it ‘Game of the Year’ right then and there. The Pickled Knight, a disembodied head who plays a similar supporting role, remains largely mysterious.

VARIETY IS THE JAM - In the space of a 10-15 minute demo, I dragged scrap metal from the ocean with a magnetised crane, broke in to a ‘fort’ and evaded the crab (yes, crab) guards within, fought a bunch of creepy possessed gloves, entertained my pet Goose, and spent the entire time with an incredibly stupid grin on my face. If the amount of variety on display here is indicative of the finished product, Knights and Bikes will be a winner.

ULTIMATE PEDIGREE - Lead artist Rex Crowle has the CV of champions, with recent projects at Lionhead and Media Molecule that have won critical and commercial acclaim. He took the lead on Tearaway (easily one of my favourite games on Vita) and is bringing his hand drawn artistic wizardry to every single visual asset in Knights and Bikes.

TECH SUPPORT - Not to be outdone in the coding department, programmer Moo Yu, who has worked extensively on smash hit games like LittleBigPlanet and Ratchet and Clank, represents the other half of the equation. When you’re a team of two, there’s not a lot of opportunity for delegation. So the fact that Knights and Bikes supports local / online co-operative play from beginning to end, and runs like a dream, is pretty darn impressive.

WIKI LEAKS - Fun fact: an early prototype of the game featured multiple playable characters. This was ultimately removed because Foam Sword were concerned that players wouldn’t connect with any one particular character.

WAYPOINTS BE GONE - There’s no hand holding here. Any clues as to my objective or direction of travel were conveyed through the environment, or written dialogue from one of the two main characters. This really helped emphasise a sense of play and true exploration, and a commitment to allow players to stumble their way to something cool without feeling as though the game is forcing you down a set path.

TIME WELL SPENT - It’s not clear at this stage how long the main single player campaign is going to be. Foam Sword commented that it will not be an unending epic, but rather a modest, considered length which tells a complete story. However, considering all the distractions and activities along the way, it is conceivable that you might spend a fair amount of time with a buddy just burning rubber and turning over every leaf in the land.

COMBO-TASTIC - Every offensive ability in the game has a special, charged up variant. Nessa’s Frisbee can split off in multiple directions, and her water bomb can be thrown as a kind of remote mine. They can even combine their talents; for example, Demelza’s puddle splash, used alongside a carefully placed water bomb, can have a devastating effect on nearby enemies.

CLICK HERE for our massive Knights and Bikes interview, with Lead Artist Rex Crowle.