Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Micro Review
- Rich presentation; beautiful pixel-art world and absorbing musical themes.
- Detailed sound design; critical for puzzle solving.
- Easy to learn controls; touch and double-tap to move - turn and tap to fight.
- Poetic storyline; nothing surprising, but elegantly told.
- Universal version available.
- Hard to invest in the characters; only given brief glimpses in to their thoughts 'Twitter'-style.
- Odd sound bug; cuts off audio requiring a full App restart.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Micro provides iDevice users with a chance to interact with a world that seeks to be more than just another casual distraction; whether you end up talking about it later with friends or simply allow it to sink in, finishing this game is worth the time if you're after something more than another skill based challenge.
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Video games (and especially those on the App Store) often boil down to fun interactive distractions that serve up entertainment in a novel fashion. Some are far better at creating an absorbing experience; some focus on technical skills and teamwork; others seek to bend the interactive medium in to something far more touching. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Micro is the collaborative work of Superbrothers, Capybara Games and songwriter Jim Guthrie and the end result is a relaxing and touching experience not always seen in the video game realm.
If you thrive on action or skill based gameplay, the world of Sword & Sworcery might be a harder one to engage with as you're presented with a fairly classic adventure game setup that focuses on elegant and purposefully considered actions. You act as a god of sorts, controlling the actions of a warrior monk by tapping or dragging the screen in order to move around or interact with it directly. These actions are initially limited, though as the story unfolds you'll gain the ability to read the thoughts (in a Twitter-like system) of others within the world and when things get rough you can engage in direct combat. Switching from a horizontal to a vertical orientation in order to participate in combat can feel odd, but the upshot is a zoomed in perspective that provides a far more intimate view on the combat, making its Punch Out-like system of blocking and attacking easier to follow.
It's hard to discuss many of the finer points of Sword & Sworcery without giving too much away as the story is closely intertwined with these interactive moments. Minor puzzles provide some time-sinks, though other more cumbersome mechanics such as needing to wait for phases of the moon can be frustrating without the patience to explore and find alternatives (one can also cheat the system, though this is far less rewarding). The story is mostly sombre, though despite the surface level of characterization you get for the warrior it's hard not to feel a bit touched at moments throughout this short story.
What really makes this title shine is the effort that has gone in to its presentation - from the detailed and highly interactive pixel-art world to the musical cues and sound effects that add as much to the story as any line of dialogue. Musical themes dominate the gameplay elements, with rhythm and a good ear for sounds being key requirements for success, though it is possible to solve some of the 'puzzles' with brute force.
What makes Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Micro hard to approach is that you only get back what you put in to the game. Investing yourself within the world and letting yourself go can be rewarding, however the gameplay itself can be repetitive and dull if you simply focus on objectives. If you have the time to sit down somewhere quiet for a while and you're after something thematically deeper than the usual time-waster, grab this game.
Description***MICRO EDITION - For iPhone & iPod Touch Only. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is an exploratory action adventure with an emphasis on audiovisual style. Traverse a mythic little realm, use a sword to do battle & evoke sworcery to solve mystical musical mysteries. Communicate with friends via Twitter, experience a videogame world that is affected by moon phases & help a wandering warrior monk complete her woeful errand.
***** from over 2000 reviewers!
***** from TouchArcade.com
***** from The London Times
10/10 from Destructoid.com
9.5/10 from IGN.com
"Gworgeous" remarks Kotaku.com
"Swo Engrossing" enthuses Joystiq.com
"It's just walking!?" observes Baiyon.
"Achievement in Art" awarded by IGF Mobile 2010.
S:S&S EP features an album's worth of original music by noted composer Jim Guthrie as well as artwork & designs by Superbrothers Inc, crafted & engineered by videogame wizards at Capy in Toronto, Canada. For more details, feel free to stop by http://swordandsworcery.com
Listen to Jim Guthrie's Sword & Sworcery LP: The Ballad of the Space Babies, available on iTunes here: http://goo.gl/UAoHx or on Bandcamp. Limited edition vinyl also available!