Sword & Sworcery EP
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery is, in one sentence, a gorgeous piece of playable, explorable art with a phenomenal soundtrack and overall design that begs to be experienced. We'll call it a point-and-click adventure (a touch and touch again adventure?), but really Sword & Sworcery is all about satisfying your curiosity in a visually striking world and doing one-on-one battles with a few discontented beings. It's a game so stepped in atmosphere and setting you'll feel like it's as epic as The Lord of the Rings, all compactified into your mobile device.
Touch, rotate, and read, those are the actions you'll undertake in this stunning little game, and that's all that's necessary to build a world steeped in unspoken legend and mystery. Apart from its soundtrack and some ambient/non-ambient sounds, Sword & Sworcery is a quiet game that never throws anything in your face. It begins quietly, it continues quietly, and the whole time you're playing you'll pick up on its distilled sense of silence that amplifies the game's setting. To walk, simply double tap where you want to go, or tap and hold to move at a constant step. If you see something you think looks interesting, double tap it to check it out. You can also zoom in and out a level by pinching the screen.
Combat is also a part of Sword & Sworcery, and it's handled in such a way that it adds excitement without breaking the game's delicate silence. At any time, you can rotate your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch to enter a zoomed-in behind the shoulder mode. A sword icon will appear, and if you have encountered a foe, a shield icon will also show up. Tap the shield to block, the sword to attack. Watch your opponent's move and counter-attack when there's an opening. Combat isn't too difficult, but it adds a necessary element of danger to the game.
The challenge in Sword & Sworcery comes from solving some simple puzzles that are largely experimental in nature. Battles also become more prominent as the game progresses, but they never take over the heart of the game. As for the story, we'll let those details unfold themselves when you play, as it's not worth spoiling even the slightest bit of info for the sake of a review.
Analysis: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is truly a rare game, and when a playable piece of art like this comes along, we'll trip over ourselves to play it as soon (and often) as we possibly can. You can tell from the screenshots that the game's artwork is something special, but once you play it, you realize how well put-together the whole thing is. The soundtrack, Sword & Sworcery LP: The Ballad of the Space Babies by Jim Guthrie, contains over an hour of music, and the minute you hear it in the game you'll want to own the score, too!
If you recognize the art style or the name Superbrothers from before, you're an observant and loyal reader with an eye for good games! Back in 2009, we featured Alpinist, a short adventure-style game released by part of the Superbrothers team. It's been a while since that gorgeous little game was released, but when you play Sword & Sworcery EP you'll forgive them for the long wait.
Yes, we're gushing all over this game like a kid at an ice cream store, but Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is worth every word of praise we can throw at it. This is a game you'll want to soak in, not skim across, so settle back in a nice and dark room, grab some headphones, and start Sworcerying.