In a more honest world, Black Knight Sword would be billed as a piece of interactive Dark Souls fan-fiction created by a Hungarian studio that seems to have hired Terry Gilliam as its head illustrator. For one, this downloadable game shares a name with one of the fearsome weapons found in Hidetaka Miyazaki's dark fantasy classic. Then there's the fact that its protagonist is made in the image of that weapon's wielder, Dark Souls' Black Knight, one of the cruel, martial giants who patrol Lordran wearing treacle-black armour and a horned helmet riveted with red pinprick eyes. Some of his original intimidating heft has been lost in the move to a papercraft world in which Monty Python-esque hellspawn bob about, as comical as they are hideous - but the comparison rings truer than you might expect.
In our world, however, where all intellectual property is delivered by a scrum of midwife lawyers, such links must remain unstated. Black Knight Sword is instead known as the second collaboration between game director Suda51 and Digital Reality - who together created of one of 2012's finest download games, Sine Mora. Black Knight Sword wears its Suda51 influence more clearly than that bright shoot-'em-up. It's filled with offbeat character, scattershot humour and the sort of obsession with death, the afterlife and the grim absurdity that lurks in both that one might expect from an ex-undertaker.
Beneath the extrovert styling - all hopping monsters with cage-heads, forest microwaves that ding-spit health-replenishing skulls, grinning wolves - the game is uncomplicated. You play as the titular Knight, thwacking the hell-monsters with your coiled sword or sending a black Hellebore projectile whipping through the air to damage them while pressing on, left to right, deeper into the game's mysteries. Enemies drop hell-hearts - of the anatomically correct variety, all flapping ventricles and snipped arteries - which are used for currency in the hell-shops that are dotted about the six stages.