It was some time ago that a friend of mine introduced me to Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. It was pitched to me in a stirring manner filled with subtle threats to my person for not having heard of or played it yet. Promises to end my life aside, it wasn’t until recently that I picked up and played through the game. And boy was I pleasantly surprised.

The Story: You are the Last Scythian, on a quest in deep in the mountains for an ancient book of legend: The Megatome.  A book of great power and “sworcery,” the Megatome holds the keys to the worlds magic.

You meet a few characters along your journey, namely a girl (called ‘Girl’) a wood cutter (dubbed ‘Logfella’) and a dog (cleverly named ‘Dogfella’). A few other characters dot the map in your travels, but few others affect your characters life and quest as much as these three. Initially unimpressed though sympathetic to your goal, Girl and Logfella do what they can to help you on your quest. Everything from leading you partway up the mountain to giving you hints in your search around the countryside, they do everything short of help you face the evils that await you under the shadow of the mountainous Mingi Taw. But even if you can get the Megatome, can you tame the magic of the Trigons to harness the tomes’ power?

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Approaching the story in the manner of a psychological examination, Sword & Sworcery is a meta-look at gaming and how games are played. The games’ host (after a fashion) is a strange, suit-wearing, tortoise/alien-looking psychologist named The Archetype who gives you insight into the games inner mechanics as well as promoting pausing the game and taking part in outdoor activities. The Archetype will help you in your journey, bridging the gap between player and character and helping to narrate portions of the games story, and even parts of the games main menu.

2013-09-18_00001Starting off the game with this character and meeting the characters you do, you quickly realize that humor is a key factor in this game. Character and story tropes aside, the narration takes the cake in terms of entertainment value. Almost constantly breaking the fourth wall, referring to video game tropes, and poking fun at characters or situation in the game, the narration does a great job of telling a story as well as lightening even the darkest of moods.

The Look: Done up in the aforementioned pixelated art style, Sword & Sworcery looks very simple at first glance. The game is easy to look at, the artful backgrounds setting the scene for your adventures in tandem with the games soundtrack at a level of quality not seen in many games. Characters are simple pixel forms, and while I took a bit to get adjusted to the look, I became attached to characters in surprising way. Being able to identify characters based on the developers’ designs, animations and so forth gave me a kind of satisfaction on a level different from most other current gen games I’ve played as of late.

Sowrd&Sworcery_3The little things in the visuals are what get me; the way the light from the sun or moon illuminate the woods, the fireflies and spirits that float through the trees, the reflections in the water. The lack of graphical fidelity might pain your average frothing-at-the-mouth-hardcore-FPS-gamer, but many will see it’s artfulness and charm and grow to love it. The visual style is only half of the presentation however, as even more will find themselves saying…

But That Soundtrack Tho: Normally a games soundtrack doesn’t get much attention, but in the world of indie games, the opposite is more often true. This game specifically titled to include the name of the soundtrack prominently touts the involvement of musician Jim Guthrie. And what a soundtrack it is. Influenced by the chiptune style, Guthrie takes things to an epically cinematic level. Lilting upbeat tunes of the meadows and hut swim among the deeper tones of the dungeons and dark forrest and bring an overflowing amount of life to this game.

Sowrd&Sworcery_2An especially suspenseful and panicked moment beneath the Mingi Taw made me feel as if my heart stopped, the reveal of the mountain’s evil Gogolithic Mass turning the feel of the game on it’s head for a brief moment. From the “New Game” Screen to the credits roll, Jim Guthries’ soundtrack brings emotion to the tale and fills the world with the kind of music I’d want accompanying my life.

Sword & Sworcery’s linear story leaves little in the way of replayability, but any with the inclination to dig deeper into the game will find more than a couple side areas and Easter eggs that expound upon the world of the game. Some give the player added songs or access to new characters to interact with, and while they’re often entertaining or force contemplation they aren’t necessary for game completion. Superbrothers: Sword & Swrocery EP has been out for a couple years now, and it’s been a part of number of sales and humble bundles, but if you still haven’t gotten around to playing it, I highly suggest you do. It is a fantastic game with adventure, humor, and real heart, and since it’s been out for a time, you can buy it for a very reasonable price.

Developed and Published by CapyBara Games, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP can be purchased for MAC/WIN and tablet devices and is also available through Steam.

Overall Score
90 %

About The Author

Long time fan of comic books, video games, and movies. Zander is often no where to be found because he's marathoning movies and tv shows or playing video games till all hours of the night as most disillusioned twenty-somethings are wont to do. Polar opposites are the game: action/comedies and dramas, FPS games and turn-based strategy, science fiction and historical fiction. Why pick one thing when there are so many good things?

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