Knight & Damsel Is A Game Where Two Players Fight To Rescue Each Other

By Spencer . April 3, 2014 . 2:44am

Knight & Damsel from MK Ultra, an indie studio with members from the Sound Shapes team, is a cute play on the damsel in distress trope. One player controls a knight on the top of the screen and player two is the damsel on the bottom. The knight runs from left to right while the princess runs from *right to left.* Eventually, both characters meet in the middle with a humorous "shocked to see you" expressions.




The goal is to dash and jump through more screens than the other player to win the round. Knight & Damsel’s levels have wooden crates that impede your path. You could smash through them or knock crates onto your opponent’s screen to slow them down. When I played Knight & Damsel I experimented with creating towers four crates tall, which basically forms walls the other player has to tear down.


Bombs are even more useful because if you can hit your opponent (rescuer?) with a bomb you’ll send them flying back one whole screen. During the hands-on demo, bombs were the ultimate weapon and landing a well-timed bomb blast felt quite satisfying.




Each round in Knight & Damsel ends with a mini-game where both players try to swoop each other off their feet. This didn’t have an effect on the outcome though since whoever cleared more screens was the winner even if the other player won the swooping game. MK Games is also working on a story mode for Knight & Damsel and I’m curious how they wrap a plot around the concept.


Knight & Damsel is in development for Ouya.

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  • Veedot

    haha looks adorable

  • So THIS is why my princess is always in another castle. :V

  • fairysun

    If your romantic life seems a little bit plain, this looks like a correct game to start a fight with your significant other XD

    • Seems like a good way to settle smaller disputes actually.

      “I top this time.”

      “No, I do.”

      “…I’ll rescue you for it.”

      “Challenge accepted.”

  • specs10

    Maybe I am completely missing the point, but to me this game points out how stupid the criticism of the trope is.

    If someone needs rescuing, they should be rescued, regardless of sex or gender or whatever. I don’t buy the argument that just because the rescuee is usually female in fiction or games that it somehow diminishes women as a group, or makes those stories toxic or less valuable to society. You want to make a woman the rescuer? OK, then write that story. Nobody is stopping you.

    • Huh? 0u0;

      I see it as the opposite. It points out how the trope can be easily avoided. Sure, nobody is stopping anyone from making a woman the rescuer – but that’s the point. It’s the default to make men the rescuer and a lot of people fall into the trope unconsciously, or even invoke it lazily.

      It’s refreshing for it to be handled so casually like this, and handled well. They’re not throwing in any faux/straw feminist messages, downplaying the knight or anything. It’s a fun, cute game where things could go either way.

      Also, it’s not that being female and being rescued if bad inherently, but when it’s over and over that not only do women always need to be rescued, but also can’t even rescue themselves, it plays into the other messages that society (and media) put forth. Remember, nothing exists in a vacuum~.

      • specs10

        That’s kind of my point. The makers of this game played on the trope in a fun way that adds to the body of work (in this case games) and isn’t just an F-You to people who enjoy rescuing Peach in Mario games.

        I applaud these people!

        • Oh, haha. Well, yeah, that’s okay to applaud them~!

    • The trope asserts an innate dependence of women on men. It tells women they can’t do anything and tells men that women need their help or guidance which quickly transforms into control and dominance.

      • revenent hell

        Yes because since the beginning of time woman where used as bartering goods. Yadda, Yadda and all that crap. Frankly I prefer it being a female or child in need of saving. Otherwise how pathetic is that dude? Eh maybe it’s just me…

        • Bakuryukun

          Wow. The fact that you can’t see the problem with that way of thinking is pretty astounding. If a male needs saving he is pathetic, but a woman is put on the same level as a child, the fact that they need saving is just “normal” to you? Also I love how you sum up thousands of years of oppression as “Yadda, Yadda and all that crap.”

          • revenent hell

            Ha thanks for noticing my so epicness!
            And by the by I am not offended by tropes or the like because I am not a female in need of anyone for anything. Also nice twisting of my words but I hardly equated a female as a child (everyone knows children would escape duh) a woman can hardly claim that…

        • This is exactly the problem. Think realistically. Anyone can be a victim or a hostage.

          The idea that a man cannot possibly get into a situation where someone has physical power over him is ridiculous. Someone’s going to be tougher than him or have a weapon or whatever. Victim blaming like yours is the reason many violent criminals never see the inside of a jail cell. People decide it’s their fault someone attacked them, and not the aggressor’s.

          If there was a gun threat in your work, would you seriously not call the cops? Even the people in Fort Hood knew it was smarter to run away from gunfire.

          Hell, look at the disastrous consequences in the Washington Navy Yard where the Capitol Police SWAT team were told to stand down by some moron who thought they had it covered. This where tough guy bullshit gets us.

          • revenent hell

            I said it as a joke so no I didn’t think of it much more than that. People are overblowing this in to something its not so yes I will joke about it if I deem appropriate.
            I could care less what gender the “kidnapped” person is or what the gender of the “savior” is as long as I enjoy playing the game.
            No matter the game someone/thing saves something/one else in my experience. Normally its groups of male/females saving males/females from something/someone so I don’t overly care really what gender is savin’ what gender at the end of the day.

      • Shippoyasha

        I think the trope is more that it’s a trend, not that the trend is about actively asserting dependence of women.

        I think what gets glossed over is that the princess is also meant to be protected as is any other royalty or politician.

    • revenent hell

      I swear I must be amongst a small minority of females who could give a shit either way. I could care less if the world states because I am a female I need saving, frankly in this day and age it would actually be nice to see a dude in the “White Knight” light but I digress, the point (or lack of one) is that just because it’s a female dose not reflect it as “me” it’s a character. I just find the premise a little to “normally done” I guess.

      • specs10

        Personally I think that’s a very healthy attitude to have. Fiction is fiction.

    • Bakuryukun

      You essentially point out the trouble at the very end of your post. Nobody is stopping anybody from making women in heroic/less dependent roles and yet, it doesn’t happen nearly as often because our society is deeply entrenched to produce for the most part male oriented narratives.

      The fact that you think people who need help should get it regardless of gender is great, but to use that way of thinking to ignore the inequality of the current state of things is quite foolish, and only compounds the problem.

      • specs10

        The real question is how to resolve the inequality. Does getting on a soapbox and berating people for enjoying Super Mario Bros work? I don’t think it does.

        What the creators of this game did is engage the issue by adding to the body of work in a fun and approachable way, which in my opinion, is much more likely to be effective than guilt and shaming.

        And the only way to change what you perceive as a systemic prejudice is by changing people’s attitudes. In my experience people don’t change their opinions or preconceptions after being lectured–they have to get there on their own.

        • Bakuryukun

          I think you can enjoy a work while still pointing out it’s flaws and things you don’t care for, so yes I do think critical discussion on the more troubling aspects of game tropes is a good thing that should be done more often, people just don’t like doing it because the second you say “Mario has abused the damsel in distress trope to the point of being insulting” people will think you hate the series, because you had the GALL to imply that the series might have some problems with the way it goes about things.

          • specs10

            Discussion is fine, but all the vitriol is exhausting. The attitude always seems to be summed up with “Everyone is entitled to his opinion, as long as ‘everyone’ means me and no one else.”

            My original comment was just meant to say that I think the creators of this game are doing much more to address the issues surrounding the trope than the ones who just want to rant about the evil 20-something male gamer who is keeping The Woman from getting ahead.

          • Shippoyasha

            I am not sure I can agree that a trope is automatically negative or damaging just because it is a trope. Besides, there are many reasons why a girl/politician would be kidnapped and I don’t believe I need to list the reasons why. If they want to have a male ‘damsel’, then so be it, as long as it fits the story. Male damsels happens often even though not all people who are taken hostage is powerless, but it is just a character archetyping, not so much a statement on gender or reality. But tropes don’t indicate all these things by themselves.

            I feel that whenever we discuss tropes, we automatically assume the worst and think it’s ‘problematic’. I don’t feel so at all. I don’t think damsels by themselves paint a picture that real women are helpless, as it is more that society expects us to treasure young women. On another note, of course it’s great if games explore themes beyond cliche and tropes. But I balk at outright saying tropes are toxic or problematic.

          • Bakuryukun

            Of course not all tropes or archetypes are inherently bad, but when we make tropes about groups of people and it forms a larger picture of their portrayal in media how could they POSSIBLY not speak volumes about what how society at large views those groups currently?

            For example: The archetype of a black character is that he either currently or formerly had a criminal past or was in a gang. It’s extraordinarily common, it’s also racial profiling whether intentional or not. That is troubling, and we need to be aware of it and the damage that it causes, because if you don’t think seeing that stuff constantly affects black youth, you are woefully mistaking. It’s the same thing with the damsel in distress trope and perceived weakness.

            I also think it’s quite interesting that you use the phrase “Male Damsel” because the word Damsel BY DEFINITION implies an unmarried woman. Even in the case of a male in need of rescue you still referred to him in female terms to imply that he needed rescuing. I doubt that was your intention, but it just goes to show how deeply entrenched society is to perceiving weakness as a female trait. I concede that not all tropes are toxic, but the damsel in distress trope is most definitely troubling, not for the content of it’s individual instances but moreso in how common it is, how prevalent it is, and how quick people are to defend it for no real good reason.I believe it most definitely speaks to a larger problem in our society about how we treat women as a whole, but that really escapes the context of our original conversation. Even in the best case scenario, the trope would in most instances simply be a case of lazy writing, I don’t see why so many are so quick to defend even if THAT were the case.

          • Shippoyasha

            The thing is, we can’t just say everything is damaging or toxic and go from there. A lot of fictional stories just reflect on the kind of trends and biases that exist in the real world. They basically never outright dictate it to people outright. Especially in gaming, there are tons of instances where the tropes are turned upside down because they are known to be lazy cliches or the creator wants to turn expectations upside down. There is never an instance where people have their world views dictated strictly by games. If anything, games are often more adventurous about featuring female leads than otherwise. The only time we see any kind of a trend is with AAA action games that are violence centric. Where most developers happens to be comfortable making a male characters.

            It’s worth discussing that tropes and cliches are just that, perceived preconceptions. But I don’t think is fair to just cite a trope and consider it a problem just because it’s there. I honestly can’t even recall many games the past decade that even had a proper princess damsel. Even if they do, it’s done as some type of a subversion. Most types of damseling only happens because the main character happens to be in an action story where the story doesn’t revolve around an ensemble cast (usually, it just centers around the main character). I think videogames have had a really good history in regards to this, despite all the critiques it has gotten for it.

  • revenent hell

    This made me smile. It’s always nice to see a captive actively pursue their own escape the idea is cutesy and if I ever played games with others I would buy this.

  • d19xx

    Ouya…. sound’s so familiar?

  • Ouya is still relevant? I figured after towerfall left exclusivity things went downhill..

  • Just Tim

    I’d be highly amused if this ended up turning out to be a reference to the NTR Guinevere and Lancelot pulled off at King Arthur, given the medieval theme.

  • Tiredman

    Nice to see the OUYA isn’t going down without a fight. Don’t plan on getting one myself, but this is a clever game I would of gotten on a mainstream console, so I can see the allure. They need a lot more though. Just look at Nintendo, they are releasing killer software and still having issues selling hardware.

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