Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
It may not reach a fever pitch with every pop-cultural artifact, but the despotic bell-curve politics of give and take that govern hype are near-universal from one artistic medium to the next. Obviously in the game industry, these PR and branding movements are usually reserved for commercial heavyweights like Call of Duty and Halo, games with ad budgets several times the size of total development costs on many smaller titles -- and generally you can see 'em coming from a mile away. Not unlike lumbering beasts of the animal kingdom, their presence shakes the ground far before they ever appear in view of the proverbial camera, only dying down after their initial appearance has been replaced by whatever happens to be the next big thing.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is not like this. Outside of Angry Birds and the other occasional casual flash-in-the-pan, iOS games rarely generate significant buzz, and Sworcery’s lo-fi pixel art makes it look like it belongs to some esoteric (and dare I say, even nerdy) design school that the jetsetting iOS user might improperly associate with its style. But Sworcery also wears its indie cachet on its sleeve, with a soundtrack composed by Canadian songwriter Jim Guthrie, and a script penned in slacker linguistics that complement its obscure postmodern take on the mythic quest. To say that it’s a shoo-in for numerous indie game awards this year is an understatement. But is really worth all the hype? Can Sworcery really be so transcendent?
I hate to cut it down to a more manageably mortal level, but Sworcery isn’t the second coming that some critics are hailing it as. In the pantheon of video games, it may not even place among the top point-and-clicks, a genre it clearly holds near and dear to its heart. For all its worldly sensibilities and thematic mysticism, Sworcery holds surprisingly basic values at its core. As the protagonist, a nameless Scythian warrior, you wander through a intricately pixellated canvas of high fantasy dreamscapes much the same as you might in King’s Quest or any other classic graphic adventure. The crux of puzzling is built around singing songs of the eponymous magic sworcery, which creates pattern-based or environmental puzzles and interactions in exchange for a mildly synaesthetic sedative reaction that’s well-placed within the atmosphere.
Sworcery has no problem with ambition, either: Aside from its striking visual and aural presentation, it utilizes an interesting social media component and some clever puzzles, and smartly triggers a mini-combat and inventory system when your iOS device is rotated. However, backtracking can be an issue, and the game’s objectives can be a hair too vague at times. There were a few cases where I became maddeningly stuck because I had forgotten a once-mentioned task available for my use.
The bottom line. Capybara’s aspirations are not in vain, however -- this as much a killer app as it is a great point-and-click. Does that make Sworcery a must-buy? For most hardcore gamers, yes. Just don’t expect it to turn water into wine.
iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 3.2 or later
Stunningly gorgeous art direction, a driving, cerebrally-oriented narrative, and a strong soundtrack. Engaging gameplay will keep you playing until the end. Universal app.
The design can be a bit too subtle and tap controls can be a little finicky. Random battles can get annoying, should you find yourself stuck on a puzzle. Traveling between locations is tedious.