Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, an audio & visual marvel from Capybara Games, is available from the app store. A point-and-click adventure at its core, Superbrothers seeks to create a meaningful and fulfilling experience in addition to a fun and engaging mobile game. Mission Accomplished!
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Pros:
- Breath-taking pixel art graphics give game tons of character
- Soundtrack melds with gameplay fantastically
- Controls are easy-to-use
- Interesting puzzles to solve
- Unique experience unlike anything else on iOS
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Cons:
- Somewhat repetitive
- Little to no replay value
- Some slight control confusion
The crux of the game involves controlling a wandering warrior monk as she explores her surroundings and attempts to track down and destroy an item of immeasurable power. She is quickly joined by a small cast of friends (The Archetype, Dogfella, Logfella, and Girl) whose thoughts she soon gains the ability to read, giving her further insight into what is happening around her. This mind-reading ability is gained by tracking down the Megatome, the special book that is the target of her quest, hidden deep inside a cavern and guarded by a shadowy demon. Along her journey, there are several puzzles that need to be solved to gain access to new areas or to unlock info nuggets that will aid our hero in developing the story. As the soundtrack is deeply intertwined with the gameplay, several of these puzzles are musically-based. There is also a major game component that involves the phases of the moon to give access to certain battles, which gives Superbrothers an interesting real-world connection that begins to blur the lines between gaming and reality. Also mixed in to the gameplay is a unique combat system that requires both turning the iDevice 90-degrees to initiate a fight, as well as button-mashing to defend against, and strike at, foes. This all combines to provide the user with a fairly enthralling experience unlike most available in a video game.
Graphically, Superbrothers utilizes a distinctive pixel-art look that gives the game a ton of character and provides a level of beauty that is in a realm of its own. The muted colors and somewhat amorphous imagery lend themselves to a relaxed, dreamy state. While the details of each screenshot are not always clearly understood (fish may be represented by a single colored pixel), the overall aesthetic just works so well that it doesn’t really matter all that much. The soundtrack, created by Jim Guthrie, is so mesmerizing that a standalone album is now provided for download on iTunes, as well. The music itself is practically an additional character that influences the game every bit as much as any other plot twist or gaming mechanic. It seems that every touch of the screen or movement of the character creates a soundscape whose interactive nature is infectious. The controls are of the double-tap-to-move or tap-hold to continue moving variety. As mentioned previously, combat involves tapping either a shield or sword icon, as well as physically altering the device’s orientation, providing an undeniable shift from exploration to combat. Entering Sworcery mode requires tap-holding on the main character, allowing you to interact with the game elements and solve puzzles. Dragging your finger around the screen allows you to pan, and this can at times get confused with an attempt to move the character (and vice versa), which was our only minor gripe.
Replay value is good if you thoroughly enjoy the experience and want to allow yourself to get lost in the game. Otherwise, the elements of exploration and discovery present in the first playthrough are obviously diminished for future playthroughs. There are interesting social aspects built into the game, too, as every line of dialogue fits within the 140-character Twitter limit, allowing you to tweet any game line to your followers. A recent update has also turned the previously iPad-only version of the game into a universal build, allowing you to experience fully the beauty of the game on any device. A less expensive iPhone/iPod-only version is also available. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP can be picked up for $4.99, a fair-price for a 4.5-Dimple gem.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Review,