I'm one who enjoys eccentric games made by developers willing to take a risk. I'm also the kind of person who also likes iOS games. But, sooner or later, one can get bored of flinging angered animals of aviation into structures made out of various materials in the hopes of killing green swine. One could want a much greater narrative in iOS games, other than that of taking revenge on pigs who just want some scrambled eggs for breakfast. If you are looking for something greater on your iOS device of choice that is somewhat of a foil to Angry Birds, than Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP
might just be up your alley.
Developed by Superbrothers and published by Capybara Games, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP
tells the story of the Scythian, a young woman who ventures on a quest to retrieve the Megatome and later to reassemble the Trigon Trifecta. The Megatome is a book used to read the thoughts of other characters in the game, disguised as game hints. It also calculates when a certain Trigon can be activated and when it is ready to be tamed.
Okay, the obligatory summary is now over. The first that one will notice is that the game is visually stunning in all its blocky splendor. The game is represented in an 8-bit minimalist style that makes the world seem beautiful and lively, even if it isn't densely populated. Even with this chosen aesthetic, the characters and animals have enough personality to compensate. The landscapes in the game are beautifully rendered with enough warm color palettes and small details to put the environments of any of the A-list titles to shame.
One other aspect that I love is the humor. The game presents a juxtaposition of infusing a quasi-folkloric story with colloquial diction, subtle pop-culture references and a little fourth-wall breaking. In the game, the Scythian makes observations in the world in the form of text boxes. The word choice in these lines range from the grammar formally reserved by teenage girls to lolSpeak, and it's hilarious. The Scythian also has strangers helping her on her quest, like Logfella, a wood-chopping woodsman, Dogfella, and Girl. It's also worth mentioning that it makes some not-so-subtle references to street artist Shepard Fairey's Andre the Giant propaganda, with Andre gathering an obedient posse to reassemble the Trigon Trifecta. In addition, it also includes sequences where the game tells you how to cheat and having a jam session with the game's composer, Jim Guthrie.
Other than being hilarious, the humor also works in the game because it doesn't break immersion from this game world that takes place 'in days of yore.' So, it's totally fine for characters to make nods to things that would be anachronistic so long as they make sense to the game's setting and story and doesn't make you feel like this game should take place in the modern day, which the game pulls that off to an almost magical degree.
Of course, it wouldn't be fair to talk about S: S&S EP without mentioning the sounds and songs of Jim Guthrie. For a guy who has been out of the music scene for seven years, he made one heck of a comeback. His album for the game, The Ballad of the Space Babies
, is a work of musical art. Guthrie uses lots of synthesizers to create celestial sounds that add to the looming sense of danger, excitement and fear, with honorable mentions being The Prettiest Weed, Lone Star and Little Furnace. It's recommended that you play with headphones, and you should take that recommendation to get the full experience, for your ears will be taken on a magical journey unlike any other.
The gameplay is great. In it's constituent parts, the game is one part adventure game, one part puzzle game and one part combat. The adventure game aspect has you exploring the world and finding objects to progress. The puzzle game aspect is where you find ways to awaken Sylvian Sprites to activate the Trigons. The combat aspect is where you flip your iOS device vertically to fight animals and tame the different Trigons. All of these elements fuse together very nicely and neither of them try to overshadow each other, making the game challenging and fun.
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP is one of those games that is perfect in my eyes. Not only is it funny, weird and beautiful, but it's also really fun, making it my favorite downloadable game of all time.
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