Spell Sword Review
- Detailed pixel-art visuals; chunky and satisfying spell-effects.
- Upgradable skills allow you to cater to your particular style of play; unlockable items takes things even further.
- Melee combat and screen-filling enemies provide a natural incentive to continually pick up cards.
- iCade support for more precise controls
- No way to reset your character; spend your rupees with care.
- Huge advantage to players who have grinded-out additional items; replaces skill with time invested.
Spellsword is a wonderful new take on the arena-based platforming formula we've seen before and feels incredibly well-polished, balancing its mechanics to provide plenty of opportunities for skillful play and strategic thinking.
- Full Review
- App Store Info
Arena platformers in the vein of games like Super Crate Box haven't been explored too extensively - sure, you can find pretenders to the throne, but there's only so much you can do with randomized weapons and raging enemies. Spellsword seeks to break from this mold, eschewing ranged weapons and mindlessly falling enemies to try something new.
For the most-part, your attacks are completely melee based, placing you face-to-face with the variety of enemies that fly, bounce, drop, roll, etc. on to the screen. Thankfully the sword you use is magical, responding to 'cards' that create an initial effect upon being picked up. These range from monster-seeking fireballs, to deadly gravity wells, poisoning every monster on the screen, and even wind-based attack that provides a rare opportunity to hit enemies from range.
Everything isn't available to use from the get-go - that would be boring! Players must first make their way through the mission mode, completing various objectives such as surviving for a set time or killing a number of monsters to earn 'rupees', new cards, and items to equip on your character. New cards provide new methods of destroying your enemy and can be upgraded to more powerful versions with the rupees you earn. The more you spend, the more each successive level costs; it's in your interest to spread out your resources evenly as items can provide major boosts to give you an edge on a particular skill.
The one downside is that players aiming to be competitive in the endless mode can't just jump straight in; there's a huge benefit to the various unlockable items and improved spells that make it impossible to compete with directly.
Thankfully if you enjoy arena platform combat you'll find yourself addicted to Spellsword's frantic gameplay and you'll soon have everything you need to duke it out on the leaderboards.