Game Review: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Micro
Release: April 14, 2011
Developer: Capybara Games Inc.
Version: 1.00 (iOS 4.0 Tested)
I’ve been covering mobile gaming for years now, and I’ve seen the App Store at its humble beginnings, and rapidly grow to the phenomenal juggernaut that it is today. Though quantity isn’t always quality, which is the case for the App Store. Sure, there’s plenty of selection at dirt cheap prices, but all of the games offer small bursts of micro-on-the-go gaming, while not offering any real substance that true gamers are used to. We’ve seen Plants vs Zombies, Angry Birds, and Tiny Wings, and yes, they do offer hours upon hours of pure addiction, but none of them have offered a truly complete gaming experience. If you’re tired of old rehashes and remakes (ala Final Fantasy) or the blatant rip-offs that clutter the App Store (that don’t ever feel quite right being played on Apple’s touch-screen devices), then make way for what I consider to be the App Store’s first official ‘real’ game that cannot be missed.
The first element that will stand out to most will be the beautifully unique visuals. Taking inspiration from pixel-art, the Canadian based developer took a very creative approach when designing the visual style. It all comes off feeling very simple at a glance, yet once you get into it and see the rustling bushes, and rippling water, you realize that attention was given to the tiniest of details. Next but certainly no less incredible is the audible treat your ears will experience. From the very start main menu track, you know you’re in for something special. Jim Guthrie is the man responsible for the loss of $8.99 when you visit the iTunes Store to purchase the game’s soundtrack. Every song, and every noise fits perfectly in creating an atmosphere so involving, that within the game’s first act you will no doubt feel like you’ve stepped into another world.
The game is broken up into several “sessions” that on average last about 15-30 minutes. In each session you will do a lot of exploring, and uncovering of mysterious texts and puzzles. You can simply touch where you’d like to explore, and double-tap to interact with just about anything you see on screen. You can really tell how this game was catered and built from the ground up for the iOS platform, as it even uses the familiar gestures like pinching to zoom in or out anytime you’d like. You’ll also encounter intense enemies on occasion, where you’ll turn your device upright and enter a sort of ‘fight mode’ where a sword and shield icon appears on your screen. If timed correctly, you will dodge, block, and thrust your sword into the enemy. It’s all too simple, yet very rewarding as the fighting takes more of a backseat to exploring the strange land.
Us writers here at Platform Nation usually like to make this next paragraph touch upon a game’s weaker points, or ways of improvements. Instead, due to the fact that I can’t think of anything, I am going to urge anyone who has iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, to spend the ridiculously small charge of $2.99 ($4.99 for the universal iPad version). It’s a special game that deserves all of the rave reviews it has already received, and a game changer for the iOS platform. The App Store needs more exclusive original titles like this.
– A rich mysterious land to explore, while unraveling a unique story.
– Beautiful, unique pixel-art visuals.
– The best soundtrack to hit the App Store, which could compete with console games and movies.
– Intuitive controls, built from the ground up for the iOS platform.
– Very cool integration of Twitter.
– Packed with clever, never-before-done moments.
It’s all in the tiny details for S:S&S EP. There is so much creativity and clever little knacks packed into this title that I can’t describe just what a delight it was to play. It’s a refreshing title on the App Store like drinking a cold iced tea on a summer day, as well as an important one. Personally, it marks the debut of a “must-play” game for gamers of all kinds. I see it being a “system seller” in which people that were previously never interested in Apple, think about picking up an iPod or renewing their phone contract to an iPhone with this game as their main push behind the purchase. It’s a shame that we don’t have a 10 scale rating system for mobile gaming, as I believe this to be a game in a class all to its own, worthy of a real rating like the console game’s it can, and does compete with. Sword & Sworcery delivers an experience that only great games can deliver, and it left me with the same wondrous, mysterious, feeling as the first time I played ICO. Buy this game.