Bahnsen Knights Review – A Cult of Cars

Bahnsen Knights is another in a series of so-called Pixel Pulps developed by LCB Game Studio and published by Chorus Worldwide Games. Midwest cults and biblical disasters haunt the background of this tense visual novel, as feelings of loneliness and loss plague our characters as surprisingly potent main themes in the writing. Paired with striking visuals and a great mystery, Bahnsen Knights is sure to captivate those sucked up in its engrossing narrative.

If you read my review of Varney Lake, you should already be familiar with the aforementioned Pixel Pulp minigenre coined by LCB Game Studio. These visual novels take on the writing style of pulp novels and employ a unique pixel art style that is striking and visceral to behold yet leaves ample room for the imagination, creating truly great visuals. Paired alongside this is the genre’s unique style of writing, which manages to say a lot in a few words, making for short scenes of surprisingly impactful text paired with stunning visuals. Your mind is given little room to miss the thick, rich atmosphere and striking scenes that Bahnsen Knights wants to show you.

In Bahnsen Knights, you assume the role of an undercover again infiltrating the secretive Bahnsen Knights cult, which emerged amidst a series of devastating tornadoes wreaking havoc across the American countryside. Not only has the group established strong economic power in the area, but Toni, the group’s enigmatic leader and one-time car salesman turned prophet, is believed to be linked to the disappearance of your former partner, Cupra. Your mission is to gather evidence implicating Toni in Cupra’s disappearance and to uncover the extent of the Bahnsen Knights’ influence.

Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Within the Bahnsen Knights, you use your cover as a man with a self-destructive streak to serve as a driver, participating in the eerily named Road Exorcisms—a ceremony where you and fellow knights drive in a cross formation against oncoming traffic. Surprisingly, this ritual appears to dispel the approaching, destructive tornadoes effectively. This only deepens the mystery surrounding the cult and kicks off the supernatural vibes of this Pixel Pulp.

Your choices certainly have an effect on how the story in Bahnsen Knights plays out. Beyond sudden game-overs, like I mentioned before, your choice of how to proceed in quick-time events and other less sudden forks on the road will change what happens next.

I really wish there was an undo button for some of these options, but once you lock in your choice, you are stuck with it unless you reload a save. One section where this was particularly frustrating was early on in the game, where you have to assign pieces of evidence regarding the Bahnsen Knight’s activity to calling cards depicting certain crimes or areas of investigation. I realized I had assigned some evidence to the wrong card. It should have been a simple mistake to fix, but the game gave me no options to undo my mistake. Worse than being stuck with the consequences of my mistake was knowing that I made the wrong choice long before the repercussions would come back to bite me.

Bahnsen Knights Gang
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

The flexible storytelling Bahnsen Knights is afforded by the interactive gameplay, which is paired with more reflex-based minigames that closely resemble gameplay. These small challenges can, at times, bolster and hinder the story Bahnsen Knights wants to tell you. This adds to the tension of some moments or otherwise disturbs the game’s pace.

Across Bahnsen Knights, you’ll be faced with some quick time events that test your reflexes and affect how the story plays out. Some examples of this are the aforementioned road exorcisms, which see you dodging oncoming traffic in a flotilla of red Sierras. However, they’ll also popup unexpectedly during the game’s regular narrative moments, often reflecting a surprise like oncoming traffic or a sudden obstacle in the road. While these moments certainly build tension, they can otherwise muddle or interrupt the flow of the story if you aren’t prepared for them.

Bahnsen Knights Exorcism
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

I didn’t hate this feature, it can be jarring to jump from reading at your own pace to having to quickly select a text prompt, often with little to no warning that the event is timed at all. It can disrupt the pace of the story to fail one of these quick-time events and have to reload just before it happens, but watching the subsequent game-over screen and the gruesome narrative that goes with it is always a good time.

While it may be argued that Bahnsen Knights might be better experienced as a pure visual novel, it’s hard to understate the sense of connection you feel having to manually navigate some portions of the story. While the pacing can certainly be interrupted by game-overs and reflex minigames, the game balances them with the progression of the strong narrative, making what is overall an immersive and engaging visual novel. Each short but potent chapter will leave you longing to know what happens next in this eerie, culty disaster novel about red Ford Sierras and the end of days.

Bahnsen Knights Lonely
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

The Final Word

Though the pace is sometimes interrupted, Bahnsen Knights certainly captivates with its striking pixel art and captivating story, weaving a narrative where loneliness, tornados, and fast cars come together in unexpected ways. Bahnsen Knights beckons, promising a unique blend of interactive storytelling, pulse-pounding minigames, and an atmospheric experience that transcends the boundaries of traditional gaming narratives.


Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! Bahnsen Knights is available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S on December 14.