Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP - iPad

The point and click genre has enjoyed a resurgence over the last few years, with many great adventures popping up on a variety of platforms.

From the hilarious grog-swilling nonsense of the Monkey Island reboot to the mad-cap episodic antics of Sam & Max, it's been great to see the genre make a stylish comeback.

At its core, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is one such title. But because it's tailor made for the iPad - with an iPhone version due in April - full use is made of the platform's crystal clear display and touchscreen functionality.

After the briefest of introductions by a mysterious sharp-suited man known as The Archetype, the player finds themselves in full control of the sword-wielding protagonist - The Scythian.

Control is straightforward and plays to the platform's strengths - a swift double tap moves The Scythian to the desired location, while selecting an object or sign brings up an information box.

The quest initially involves seeking out and procuring the Megatome - an ancient text which contains arcane knowledge - and awakening woodland sprites by singing and manipulating the environment.

There's more to it than that, of course, but explaining further would only dilute your enjoyment of this magical title.

The adventure plays out at a sedate pace, with the game gently nudging the player in the right direction by using visual and audio cues - a move which allows the player to take things at their own pace.

Occasionally, the tranquility is shattered by one-on-one battles but these encounters are thankfully kept to a minimum, with Sword & Sworcery EP's focus very much on exploration and interaction.

In fact the game actively encourages the player to have a good old nose around, with points of interest and secret grottos dotted about the heavily wooded world.

But while many gameplay ideas have been regurgitated from a range of previous videogames, it's the fascinating visuals and captivating audio work which sets Sword & Sworcery EP apart.

The graphical style is immediately striking, with artist Craig Adams utilising chunky pixels and a muted colour palette to create a quite mesmerising world to explore.

Complimenting the striking visuals is Jim Guthrie's stunning musical score. The soundtrack is an astonishing achievement, with layered synths, elastic bass lines and gentle guitar strums rising and falling as the action plays out.

On top of this, the environmental audio effects are just as beautiful, with crackling fires, peals of thunder, water splashes, dog barks and chirping crickets all adding to the game's wonderful atmosphere.

Sword & Sworcery's relaxed pace, ambient atmosphere and focus on exploration and experimentation won't be to everyone's tastes. However, it is a quite incredible experience which leaves the player desperate for more once the adventure has been completed.

The art style is sublime, the music and sound effects are magical and at only £2.99 from the App Store, it's the most uplifting and unforgettable experience you'll have all year.


Blake said...

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If you don't mind, I like to link your blog to mine for places to visit.

If you are cool with that, just let me know, thanks.

rinns said...

It's a shame I miss out on these types of games from not owning an ipad.

Big D said...

This game looks rad as hell. Urge to buy ipad...rising!