Knights in the Nightmare: Mastering Bullet Hell in a Strategy RPG

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Because Knights in the Nightmare is so radically different than any other game currently available for the PSP system, it tends to offer most gamers a slightly steeper than usual learning curve. In order to make acclimation to the game’s amazingly satisfying mix of strategy-RPG and bullet-hell action, here’s some tutorial-style stuff to get you started before Knights in the Nightmare hits stores and PSN on November 9th.

Knights in the Nightmare for PSP

The Basics

You are The Wisp. You awaken with no knowledge of where you are or why you’re there. Only one thing draws you: a battered, cursed castle. There, you sense, a terrible tragedy occurred. You find you have the power to awaken and control the spirits of victimized knights, and you find yourself compelled to use this power to uncover the story of this calamity and rid the castle of its curse.

You begin every chapter of the game with a story sequence. These cutscenes are one of the game’s biggest strengths—lovingly drawn and animated, they are heavy with emotion and stray far from your typically bright and happy clichés.

Knights in the Nightmare PSP

It should be no surprise that you’ll next find yourself on the battlefield. From this first tactical map, you’ll first need to determine who you’re taking into battle. Early on, you won’t really have a choice; you’ll have only the characters the game story provides you for the given scenario. But later, you’ll have one of three different character types in your party:

  • Nameless Knights: Their sole purpose is to fill in and help out; they’ll be gone at the end of the battle.

Knights in the Nightmare PSP: nameless knight

  • Recruited Knights: You pull them into your party by giving them an item (in battle) with which they have an emotional connection. Miss your one opportunity and you won’t be able to recruit them until the next playthrough!

Knights in the Nightmare PSP: recruiting

  • Your Main Character: There are three main characters in Knights, one of which, Princess Yggdra, is all new and exclusive to the upcoming PSP release!

You’ll probably deal the most with recruited Knights, as they’re the only ones whose souls can be fused or harvested in order to improve your overall options on the battlefield. That particular feature, however, is best left for the in-game tutorials. Yay, incentives to buy!

Knights in the Nightmare PSP: character screen

Teh Fighting Rules

Each chapter gives you a set number of turns (based on difficulty setting) to complete the battle. Let me give you an example scenario. You’re starting the first of six turns in particular chapter. You wipe out all the enemies, thus ending the first turn. From here, two things happen: you go to a slot machine of sorts (The “Encounter” Reels) from which YOU, based on your timing, choose which enemies you’ll fight in the next turn:

Knights in the Nightmare PSP: monster slot machine

Tied to each enemy is a tile on the Enemy Matrix. Essentially, you want to fill up a row or column (or a diagonal line) of tiles. Meaning, each time you end a turn and get to the slot machine, you can affect how many turns it takes to complete the chapter. Want to try and recruit as many Knights as possible? Looking to gain as much experience as you can to level your knights up? Well then, try to take as long as possible to get a complete line on the Enemy Matrix. Or maybe you just want to get through the chapter as quickly as possible? Well, try and time your selections on to fill a line up on the Enemy Matrix as soon as possible (I’ve zoomed in on it below):

Knights in the Nightmare PSP: for victory

Teh Fighting Controls/Mechanics

There is one very important thing to know about fights in Knights in the Nightmare: You do not control the Knights. You are the Wisp. That is what moves when you move the nub/directional pad. So, as the Wisp, here’s what you can do. At the start of your fight, you set four weapons in the four slots around the screen (or maybe three weapons and one key item, so that you can hand it to a Knight and have them join your party). These weapons have two primary traits:

  1. Alignment (Law or Chaos): A balancing system for the game’s combat. In short, as you spam a weapon in one alignment (you actually toggle between the two), it becomes less effective and you receive less MP to use on special attacks from your enemies. Law weapons cannot be used when you are in Chaos mode, and vice versa.
  2. Class restriction: Weapons are all designed for one knight class (of which there are 9). You cannot use a Warrior’s axe with a Lance Knight and you only have four weapon slots and typically 2-3 characters in a fight at once. This means you’ll often have to be making tough choices: what items/characters you take into which fights and so forth. Rewarding strategy!

Knights in the Nightmare PSP: weapons

So you move around as the Wisp and drag weapons ONTO the characters you command. Your enemies attack you with floating, neon projectiles. It doesn’t matter if their attacks hit your Knights; they’ll just pass right through them, really. But they can hit you! A timer that starts at 60 seconds and only depletes when you charge an attack or when you get hit acts as your health. You need to avoid your enemies’ attacks, which can be varied in pattern and speed, deal out your own attacks, constantly cycle between Law and Chaos, collect fusion components from enemies when you hit them, and so forth.

Knights in the Nightmare PSP: combat

Gosh, this might have been a bit much, too involved and detailed. But then again, we want you guys to be prepared when Knights in the Nightmare hits stores and PlayStation Network on November 9th for $29.99. And again, if you pre-order/get a copy at launch, you get a FREE digital copy of Yggdra Union (a $14.99 value!). Did we pique your interest? Or just bore the hell out of you? Because it’s the latter, I’m going to go be depressed for a week.

Visit the official Knights in the Nightmare website, for more details about the game. For more info about Yggdra Union, visit

Comments are closed.


11 Author Replies

  • Looking great! I still need to finish Yggdra Union >_o

    • reson8er,

      Our sympathy for your plight is overwhelmed by our elation that you actually purchased Yggdra Union.

  • This looks interesting.

  • Love the story and art for this game, but handling the bullets and projectiles in this game wasn’t any fun when you had to use a Nintendo DS stylus, and using a less accurate analog nub doesn’t look promising.

    Strip away the whole bullet dodging would strip one of the key unique elements to this, not to mention make it about as generic as any other stratRPG in the last five years, but then again, it would be far more appealing.

    Hopefully Atlus will see about bringing out a PSP RPG (any flavor) that isn’t an enhanced Nintenod DS game of a year(+) out of date. C’mon Atlus, if nothing else, license the Tales PSP games…

  • Looks really cool, let us know when there’s a PS3 native version!

  • Gotta admit, when I first read about this game, it sounded way too confusing (seeing it in motion without an explanation of the gameplay didn’t help either, it looked like pure chaos).. Since then, I’ve watched some tutorial videos on Youtube and have a better understanding of it’s core gameplay mechanics. Knights in the Nightmare unique style is a huge draw for me. I look forward to checking it out on release day.

    • Anddo,

      It is definitely different enough that it will take a bit of getting used to. As you say, though, the frantic nature of some of the fights can make things look much harder and more complicated than the reality of things. The menu, while it displays a ton of info at any given time, is also incredibly cleanly laid out (once you get the hang of it) and offers filters on many screens. You can view weapons, for example, suited only for a warrior, or even go so far as to only view warrior’s weapons with a certain elemental damage type.

  • *looks at publisher*

    Atlus? SOLD!!! XD You guys are the best, this looks very interesting. I’ll be picking this up day one!

  • Fun, fun. You guys always make such compelling, long-lasting games… Will you marry me?

    By the way, I think you’re missing an “if” in there: “Did we pique your interest? Or just bore the hell out of you? Because _____ it’s the latter, I’m going to go be depressed for a week.”

  • This actually looks quite awesome and Atlus has never let me down.

  • Very happy that this game got localized! Yggdra union is also fantastic

  • Sounds great. 2 for $30 on top of that if you preorder/pick up at launch? Sweetens the deal. Been wondering about a demo though. No?

  • also when is blaze union coming ^_^ ?

  • I was really interested until I read “PSP”.


  • Awesome! Can’t wait!

  • So PSN customers will also get Yggdra Union, but only if they buy it on day 1? It would be nice to be able to pre-order items off PSN for specials like this, :D

  • Oh and you didn’t bore me Aram, I really enjoy reading about this stuff! Thanks for taking the time to write all of that up!! XD

  • wow so much info, thanks Atlus, i will get this game since i know you’ll get another game with it for free :P, cant miss it! o and please a small request i have. please Bring Trine2 to PS3 and catherine to ps3 as well.

    Thank you

  • I will be picking this up. I really enjoyed Yggdra Union. So I have no need for the free game. But it is a download version so now if I want to play the game I can but on the memory card instead of the UMD disc. I hope after Knights in the Nightmare comes out Blaze Union will be the next game. I have enjoyed all these strategy games Atlus brings out so I can’t wait to play this game & if I am lucky Blaze Union will be coming out later.

  • So I believe you said this is a voucher pack in on the UMD versions when we buy a launch copy?

    It’s getting almost impossible to find PSP games in my area. Hopefully Target gets these in, if not I might have to order on Amazon.

    • The PlayStation Network voucher for a free copy of Yggdra Union will come with BOTH physical (UMD) and digital (PSN) copies of Knights in the Nightmare. Everybody wins! (Only at launch and while supplies last)

  • Pre-ordered.


  • Arg, don’t own a PSP but you guys really make it tempting to get one.

    Great news on Trine 2 for PS3 tho! XD

  • I’m sure its a great game and I wish you guys the best of luck with it. I just can’t bring myself to play handhelds anymore. When I travel I’m too busy to be bothered. And when I’m at home I want to play on a real screen; defeating the purpose of me owning a handheld in the first place.

  • Can you guys PLEASE localize Catherine! I really like the look of it, and the fact that it is done by the PERSONA team!! It would easily be a day one purchase for me!

    Please. Pretty Please!

  • Wonderful game, played on DS. Planning to buy it again for the PSP. Any other PSP bonuses other than Princess Yggdra?

  • How long will the promotion last for the PSN version? (getting the free game)

  • So Atlus, no plans on bringing Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner on the ps store?

  • Why can’t it be for the PS3. We need games LIKE THIS on the PSN.

  • Hmm Cool, I’ll check it out, My PSP been on a roll with Valkyria Chronicles 2 & Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. Any Atlus games for PS3 anytime soon, Jabbari?

  • Atlus FTW
    day 1!!!

    can we get odin sphere HD too please?

  • If you could figure out a way to get me a PSP 3000 for free, I think I’d buy every single one of your games :)

  • Hey Atlus, I noticed someone made mention of Catherine and it got ignored. Just wanted to chime in on it again. It being made by the Persona team and all (I’ve bought both Persona 4 and P3Portable and they’ve become my favorite RPGs, bar none), I really hope you guys localize it.

  • an other great jrpg ONLY FOR PSP…
    PS3 jrpg lovers dies crawling.

  • I got the DS version and i might try to buy it just because i love every game released in the PSP more than in the DS (the big screen is just “kawaii”). Also, do you have any news on Luminous Arc 3? =/ it seems you guys wont localize this game? its been a while since it was released *sniff*

  • OFF TOPIC!!!why cant this page no longer supports the ps3 web browser??? come on guys fix it !!!

  • Hey guys I’d love to get my hands on this game, but I’m from Australia. Is this game going to show up on EU shores, and with Yggdra Union to boot?

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