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Review: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

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"Hey, what's that you're playing?" I ask my friend who is turning his iPad left and right.

"Sword & Sworcercy, 'sworcery' spelled with an 'sw' like 'sword,'" he replied.

"Oh, ok. Looks kinda cool. I will." And two months later I did. I shoulda done it sooner.

A few weeks ago I flew home to Texas to visit family, so I needed something to entertain me on the flight from SFO to DFW as I wasn't flying Virgin America this time around. So, I decided to follow through on my friend's suggestion and downloaded Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcercy EP. At its core, S&S is an action/adventure game that pulls inspiration from the King's Quest series, Zelda (oh lord, the Zelda references), and even Shadow of the Colossus. You double-tap the screen to tell your Scythan warrior where to go and what world elements to interact with. During the handful of battle sequences, you rotate your iDevice from landscape to portrait and tap the sword icon to attack and shield icon to defend or dodge. Then there's sworcercy. You tap and hold on the Scythan until she kneels and then you can perform sworcery, which is essentially activating puzzle sections of the game on certain screens.

So what's the point of all of this? Why swing your sword and sing songs of sworcery? Well...as a Scythan, only she can enter dream realms to claim pieces of the Trigon Trifecta (which is definitely NOT the Triforce) by releasing sylvan sprites via sworcery. The complete Trigon, when combined with the ancient book of sworcercy the Megatome, can be used to release the evil Gogolithic Mass of Mingi Taw from its immortality and restore peace to the land. Makes sense to me, so onward with adventure!

Two things set S&S apart from generic fantasy adventure games are the dialogue and the music. Anything said by the Scythan, either out loud or in thought, is done in the second-person perspective. That is, she says "we" instead of "I". Additionally, interactions with other NPCs such as The Girl and Logfella are always passive observations rather than direct quotes. However, the Megatome keeps a record of the thoughts of the different characters in a Twitter-like feed where their internal monologues are written in the first-person...save for the Scythan who continues to express her thoughts in the second-person. It's an interesting delivery of the narrative that surprisingly makes the player feel more involved as the Scythan is directly acknowledging the player's existence and participation.

The music is just fun. It's hard to put in to words what it's like, so rather than put us both through the frustration of trying to convey music through words, I'm just gonna link you to the site that's hosting streams and downloads of the soundtrack.

The only complaints I have about the game are that the puzzle solving can occasionally be a bit obtuse and that the game felt a bit on the short side. Better too short than too long, I suppose, but some of the puzzles would benefit from a clue or two to prevent the player from just tapping the screen until something happens.

This game is a must-own for anyone with an iDevice. It's gorgeous and enjoyable, and just long enough for a plane ride to keep you from being subjected to showings of Two and a Half Men.

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2 Comments

Branovices said:

I think you're missing the bit where he told you to play it in your opening story.

Gabe said:

It looks good and all, but the ridiculous hipster completely unnecessary "EP" thing throws me off. It just bugs me, so I can't buy this game. :/

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