[Review] Sword and Sworcery solos this week’s Humble sale

Published on July 21st, 2013

This week’s Humble sale offers up eleven music albums by Jim Guthrie, the man that Double Fine’s Tim Schafer wants to score his life.  If you beat the average price the bundle is being bought for, you’ll get Sword and Sworcery, an 8-bit style indie point and click adventure, and Indie Game: The Movie.

1

As sweet as Jim’s symphonies are, (one album was even composed on a Playstation), we’ll concentrate on Superbrothers Sword and Sworcery. It’s what we’re here for right?

Sword and Sworcery was originally designed for the iOs, a version for Microsoft Windows coming later. It appeared on the Humble Indie Bundle V and also in the Humble Bundle for Android IV. Its recurring presence is a slight indicator to how essential this game is in most of our steam libraries.

2

An Epic Quest: Lively Pretty Pixels

You start out as a Scythian warrior on a woeful quest which is segmented into 4 “sessions” for your playing pleasure. Her quest will take you through its quirky and nostalgic wilderness in search of the Megatome and Trigons, upside down triangles that will no doubt remind you of some other game.
On your quest you will meet three other characters, a girl known as ‘Girl’, a woodcutter called ‘Logfella’ and their dog, ‘Dogfella’, they are not super jazzed that they’ll be helping you on your quest. Later you’ll meet ‘The Archetype’, a cigar-toting gentlemanly fellow who monitors and comments on her journey.

 3

Wait… Haven’t we met somewhere before?

The controls on this one are very intuitive, having previously designed to utilise device orientation during gameplay on mobile devices, they’ve made this one a point and click. If you’re a slave to your ‘wsad’ keys the transition may feel a little awkward at first, but being such a rewarding game it’s worth the initial discomfort.

You tap where you’d like your character to go, use the right mouse button to draw your sword, and you tap the sword/ shield button to use them.  Simples.  However, certain events and passages of play are only accessible when the moon is in a certain phase. This will either make you feel more connected to the game, or get irritated by it, (Just change the time on your device, you didn’t hear it from me).

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Jim’s work has such an impact on the game you get a neat little jam session with him.

There are occasional battles that are incredibly simplistic in design. You click your sword or your shield in order to perform an action. These battles are far from tedious, kept alive by the musical score that accompanies it and the rhythmic quality it creates. You won’t have the boredom of having to grind enemies, or find any of the enemies repetitive.

The game is filled with numerous puzzles for you to overcome. These puzzles encourage the careful observation of your surroundings, but are by no means puzzling. These puzzles can be completed by a clicking spree, forcing the environmental clues to respond. Or you could not do that. Some clues are more subtle than others. A reflection that shouldn’t be, or returning ducklings to their mother.

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Despite its limited aesthetic it doesn’t half deliver.

Written with an incredible sense of humour, dialogue is delivered to the player in juxtaposed archaic English along with casual lingo.  You are often addressed directly, meaning that the builders never had a plan for that fourth wall. The playful banter-like way the game comes across really won me over, however some might feel it comes across as lofty. Its offbeat introductions and withheld information make for compelling gameplay that makes you want to further the story.

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I cannot stress how important Jim’s music was to this game, Kotaku having awarded Sword and Sworcery “Best Videogame Music of 2011”. With its quirky presentation, well-constructed unique soundtrack, and a charmingly epic story this game is well worth the pennies that it’s going for. Although short in play time, only taking a few hours to complete, will last you a few weeks if you play the way the game was intended. Sword and Sworcery is so captivating, the short lifespan doesn’t matter.

If you haven’t played this indie gem yet, you know what you must do.

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