Knuckle Sandwich Review

Get in my way and you’ll get a knuckle sandwich for your efforts.

Released: November 22, 2023
Available on: Steam
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Developer: Andy Brophy
Publisher: Andy Brophy, SUPERHOT PRESENTS
Review key provided by developer

It’s almost the end of the year and, well, I have to get in another RPG game in. Especially when it’s a game that I played the demo for, twice, and liked it both times. It’s finally time to dive into Knuckle Sandwich’s weird world.

Knuckle Sandwich’s story is probably going to be a bit tricky to talk about. It’s one of those stories where it feels like whoever is telling it is just pulling your leg, but it’s actually what happens. Trust me. Well, let’s get into it.

In Knuckle Sandwich, you play as a down-on-his-luck guy who is moving to Bright City. He doesn’t really talk, but he must be moving there to have a better life and to grab himself a job. Well, even if he wasn’t it’s not up to him anyway as the Busdriver does take him to the city’s Job Center (and you learn it’s kind of a tradition for new residents to go there). At first, it seemed like it was going well as you had four job choices, however no matter how good you are the employers seem to have it out for you. Okay, he may have been justly fired from one, but the others were just unfair. So yeah. You leave without a job. Luckily, or unluckily, you find a help wanted poster for a burger place, Gorilla Burger, who’s hiring anyone so you take it. Except, well, he may very well be the worst boss of them all and he isn’t even paying you for your hard work. The nerve of that guy. Even better, you get attacked when throwing out the trash by this maybe-a-zombie gangster guy. You end up alive against all odds, but you do end up killing him (oops) and when your boss finds out he…cooks the body into burger meat. And then sells it once he learns how delicious it tastes.

If you think that’s going to be the weirdest thing that happens, you’d be wrong. Due to how popular Gorilla Burger is after getting into the cannibal burger business, your boss ends up hiring some more employees: Echo, Thea, and Dolus. After a few days of working hard, not getting paid (I’m assuming), the boss peacing out, and uncovering a dark mystery, you four decide to figure out what your boss was doing. Although, you four do get sidetracked a bit due to a suspicious group called the Brightfangs doing suspicious things like attacking the mayor. What are they up to? It’s only a matter of time before they appear again.

Alongside this, there is a B plot. After that…eventful day, you go to sleep only to find yourself in a strange world where only Busdriver is there with you. This is no mere dream, even though you do wake up from it before Busdriver tells you the details of your task. Don’t worry, you do get sent right back to him after a dancing buff dude calls you an anomaly and gives you a knuckle sandwich right in the eye (and I’m not talking about the new burgers on the menu). It turns out that Busdriver is a dude from the Goblin Realm who’s in charge of tracking anomalies through Spirit Cell readings (or the energy of the world). Bright City recently got a big spike, but Busdriver has no idea where it’s coming from. He needs to find out where before something terrible happens, but he can’t exactly be in the human world for long. This is where you come in. You’ll find out what is causing the spike and where so he can come in and take care of it. It’s going to be tough, but he does summon some baby goblins to help you out…even though it causes some weirdness to go on for a while after that. You’ll get to talk to Busdriver every so often along your journey, but don’t worry as you get a step closer to finding out who the actual anomaly is the further you get in the game.

While the story is a bit hard to really grasp at first, I enjoyed it. It’s a crazy ride for sure and I’m sure the intention was for you to get sidetracked alongside the characters, which worked for me. I also really enjoyed the writing for the whole game. The characters are written well, the meta/fourth wall breaks were sparse and used for quick jokes, and I guess I had the perfect sense of humor for this game as the jokes did land for me. There were also a couple last minute plot twists to tie up the loose ends and while one or two had foreshadowing, I don’t know how to feel about it. Though, it didn’t really bother me much which I feel is due to the random, wacky nature of the game helping me to just roll with it (since you do that for the whole game anyway). I also did like the characters; all the other team members were nice to hang around with and I did like how you did a dungeon with each of them alone before you all travel together. Also, my favorite character (overall and out of the party members) was definitely Dolus. Dolus is the best, has the best combat pose, and his signature pose he does throughout the game weirdly made me laugh every time.

I’m still a bit sad that the opening of the game, where your boss cooks up the guy you killed and loves the taste, didn’t really matter in the long run. It’s mainly used to set up the game as the story does need a way to get your character to the diner, blackmailed to stay, and a reason why the boss hired more employees. Plus to get in that knuckle sandwich pun in. I guess I just thought your boss would play more of a part rather than disappearing for most of the game.

Well, let’s get into the gameplay. You’ll be travelling in the overworld a lot and Knuckle Sandwich does exploration really well. I do wish you could set your default movement to run, but all the environments that make up the world are all different and unique from one another. You can really tell how rich the different areas of Bright City are and there are a decent amount of hidden things you can find or do. Whether it’s hidden items, hidden goblins, hidden sidequests, shops, or hidden interactions like the arcade. I do recommend exploring the overworld as there is more to do than you’d think. Also, I do want to rope in the dungeons (well they’re not dungeons in the traditional sense, but still). The dungeons were a big surprise to me and Knuckle Sandwich manages to make all of them be in unique settings with unique enemies. They also have puzzles that only show up in that dungeon, granted some can be annoying (and luckily the puzzles in the last dungeon was patched to be easier). All throughout, there are snack machines (fully heal your party), computers (store items), and washing machines (save game) as well, which were spread around well.

Though, there is an annoyance with the inventory. Your inventory is limited by eight slots, but your equipped items and key items will take up spots. Which is so annoying as you can always be out three spots if you equipped two one-handed weapons and an accessory. I do understand the reason why it’s like this, as it makes you manage your inventory, only take the necessities, and maybe have you use items more, but it’s so annoying not being able to pick things up or having to throw something out first (especially since some useless items do have a hidden use somewhere). It does get better late game, when you’re traveling with everyone, but I wished either equipped items or key items didn’t count.

It’s only a matter of time before you run into an enemy and get pulled into combat. Combat here is the expected turn-based combat with the order being based on the one with the highest speed stat, but there is a twist. It employs minigames for your attacks and dodges. A simple one for regular attacks and dodges, and Warioware-esque minigames for skills that you do and dodge. Your regular attacks actually have three different fightbar variations (technically four if you count the one that a variation of one of them). There’s the horizontal bar where the hit area moves, with a little glowing critical spot, and you need to hit it with your marker before it makes it all the way to the right. There is a variation where you have two bars that you can switch between, which can have bombs that you have to dodge. Then there’s the fightbars you can do combos on, the circle and the vertical fightbar, which you just need to hit the marker and it goes on until you miss it. There’s no critical here, but you can kill an enemy with just that turn if you’re skilled enough. Dodging regular attacks from enemies is just learning its tell and dodging. There was only one enemy early on where it seemed to not have a tell. For skills, you’ll need to do a Warioware-esque minigame. There are a lot of these and they’re specific to the enemies and characters. For you, it’ll affect how effective your attack will be. Early on, it does seem the skills are useless, but they do get more powerful the more you level up. When it’s the enemy doing a skill, you’ll need to perfectly do the minigame to not only dodge it, but also send the damage back to them. These minigames can be just dodging attacks, picking the right option, playing tennis, or stacking ice cream, but they all are unique enough. These even get harder the more successful dodges you do. There will obviously be a few duds, but a lot of them are good.

Then there’s your baby goblin summon. You do need to charge up the summon bar, but summoning a baby goblin will do a lot of damage. There are even more baby goblins hidden around the world and I’m pretty sure it increases the amount of damage this summon will do (and give them a chance to be summoned). The best aspect of this is that your character does a little pose with the goblin.

The only attacks you can’t dodge are the special attacks, which are the ones that can put status effects on your parties. Your luck stat determines the chance of your characters dodging this, but I only saw it happen once early on. Granted though, the status effects can be tolerated. There are two that affect your regular attack minigames, but you can get used to it enough where you can raise the combo a bit.

Of course, you get experience and some currency with every battle. Every so often when leveling up, you can get a chance to add between 0-5 points to a stat and there are two skills you can learn. For our main guy, you do get a choice between two each time.

You can actually change quite a lot of settings for the combat if you want to. You can take out the minigames entirely and just have it based on your stats, change battle speed, override minigame difficulty, adjust damage taken, if your team will auto heal, and even give you the ability to skip battles. And if you want to do a Level 1 challenge, you can disable EXP gain (which is on top of a hidden challenge mode you can activate during Chapter 1). Personally, I was tempted to disable the minigames, especially for certain annoying ones as enemies do skills more than regular attacks, but I never ended up changing my settings. I don’t know, I felt the game wouldn’t be the same without the minigames.

I do want to mention the boss battles. I don’t want to spoil all of them, but the game does a great job with the boss battles. All of them manages to be unique, even if it starts out like a regular boss fight. The art style can change, how you win can change, and the genre can just change. It was fun, even the difficulty spike in Chapter 5 was fun, and you never know what a boss battle will hold. Not to mention that the way Knuckle Sandwich handles the boss battles make them feel different from regular encounters with regular enemies.

There were some instances where I felt the battles did go for a bit too long, whether it was intentional or not. Though, I never did end up changing any of my settings.

To close it out, I wanted to mention how much I loved the art style and how it even utilized different art styles, which felt like it was used to show how weird or different some select locations or enemies are. The pixel art style you see the most looks so nice, colorful, and detailed, which is the important the most; but it also employs some 3d models (or at least does a cool effect where the pixel art looks like it’s 3d), and some pieces where it looks like a drawing or a colored sketch for transitions. There’s even a real arm asset used for one of the minigames which was funny. The music was also really nice both the overworld music that fits with each location and the battle music that really gets you into the fighting spirit (especially for bosses).


I feel your enjoyment with Knuckle Sandwich will depend on how much you can tolerate. If you can tolerate randomness where the connecting lines aren’t obvious until later and like playing minigames in combat for your attacks and dodges, you very well may enjoy this game. It also helps that it looks like the demo is here to stay, which is a decent indicator of what you should expect from the rest of the game. Personally, I ended up enjoying the game more than I thought. There are a few annoying aspects, like the inventory, some battles did feel too long, and some plot points being dropped until the end, but the game is honestly really charming, the music is great, the combat was fun, boss battles were all unique, and I loved the art style and how it changed sometimes. It may take a couple hours, but Knuckle Sandwich really comes into its own once the real plot comes in full force. If this game interests you, and even better you liked the demo, I do recommend picking it up.


♡ ♡ ♡ A witch that goes for anything that peaks her interest no matter the genre. Currently obsessed with the Persona series and trying to make a dent in my backlog. ♡ ♡ ♡

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