I was reading A Song of Fire and Ice in my tablet and I figured that I should rest a little. I was blitzing through the book that my mind overloaded. While tinkering with the tablet, I saw my Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery app and thought that maybe I should check this out a little. I got it days ago when it went for free and just downloaded it in a spur of the moment.
That was a while ago. Seriously, Swords and Sworcery has been loads of fun. This would be a short review, since I still have to finish a chapter A Song of Fire and Ice that got sidetracked because of this beautiful game. Just gonna share a few of my thoughts and the strengths of the game.
Since I’m playing this with my iPad, movement is based on touching and tapping. While it was difficult at start to point-and-touch because of my stupidly rough screen and my huge fingers, I got accustomed to the simplicity of the movement. I’m really not a fan of in-game D-Pads since it tends to get sweaty and sticky, plus it’s not that reliable for me. The simple touch and tap makes the game more immersive but still retaining a certain simplicity.
There are no crowded inventories filled with loot or stuff, or tabs for that matter. The interface is clean, and health bars (which are shown as stars), is only shown when engaging in battle.
Battles are also simple. There’s only a shield and sword option and timing is the only skill that’s more or less needed here. Button-mashing is useless, you have to watch the flow and listen to the beat of the music, which actually helps the timing.
The game is more about puzzles and discovery. You interact with your environment, you solve certain problems, and you get to bash a few enemies here and there. Like I said, it’s simple, but not in a way that it is boring.
Eargasmic! That’s how I would describe it. The music is done in a way that helps you immerse to the particular atmosphere of certain situations. Sometimes, it gets moody and lonesome with a soft piano tunes. Sometimes, it’s creepy and full of tension, like the first appearance of the deathless ghost. It can also be trippy, especially when you eat mushrooms that you pick up. The soundtrack is an experience itself and I could just sit there doing nothing, while listening to the music.
I don’t want to spoil this, since it’s a very important part of the experience. I’m usually okay with spoilers, and more often than not, I look at the summary of a game before I play it. However, I have yet to spoil myself and it has made the experience all the more fresh and thrilling. I like how tongue-in-cheek the humor is with some of the dialogue, and how it is poetic when it come to the script. Whenever you observe something, it is described in an almost poetic way. I’ve been engrossed with the plot’s simplicity, but also how it dabs on some mythological aspects as well. The game even describes it as mythopoetic! The character, the Scythian, might be solemn and lonesome throughout the game, but her character reminds of the main character of Shadow of Colossus. Silent and duty-bound, in a strange and eerie, mostly barren world. But, with magic, music, and humor.
The visuals are amazing! To have such a lush and detailed environment using pixel art gives it a certain taste. It makes the world more mysterious, lonelier, scarier, relaxing, and breath-taking. It’s wonderful how it’s not some AAA 3D visual–and I doubt that if the visuals are like that, it wouldn’t be as effective. The style is unique and it’s not half-assed either. From the reflection of the water, to the movements of small animals, and even to the smoke from the hut–this is pixel art done right. It sets a certain mood and atmosphere, almost surreal and sometimes it gives me the creeps more than most horror game does.
I definitely recommend playing this game. The visuals and music are top-notch, it really connects with you. The plot and gameplay is simple, not contrived in any sense, and does not make you feel like you are grinding to the point of frustration. It doesn’t demand much of your energy, but it can also be full of tension sometimes. It’s like reading a story, with music and a nice art and you get to bash some enemies. Play it!