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Review: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery for Windows

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Title: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
Price: $7.99
System(s): Windows (Also iOS, and soon Mac)
Release Date: April 16, 2012
Publisher (Developer): Capybara Games (Superbrothers and Capybara Games)
ESRB Rating: N/A, I’d say it’s appropriate for ages
Pros: The script is incredible and it has an incredibly unique visual presentation. The soundtrack is amazing and I enjoyed just leaving the game on so I could listen to it while I did other things. There’s just the right amount of hand-holding to get you started, but the rest is up to you to think things out and get things done. Megatome commentary is both helpful and hilarious. I really liked the point-and-click control scheme. Puzzles can make you think and reward you with wonderful melodies. You actually have to pay attention to time in order to proceed through the game, which is pretty cool.
Cons: You really have to remember what kind of taps do what. Battle flow may initially trip you up. No replay value.
Overall Score: Two thumbs up, 96/100, A, * * * * 1/2 out of 5

One of the biggest debates in the entertainment world today is whether or not games are interactive art. Those who assert they are cite games like Journey, Limbo, Shadow of the Colossus and Braid as titles that prove games are more than a way to kill a few hours and amuse oneself – they actually provide a more enriching experience, convey a sense of wonder and encourage meaningful discussion. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP helps support the argument that games are art. It’s an beautiful, incredible experience that resonates with anyone who plays it.

Braving Ming Taw

The time of miracles is upon us.

The Scythian has been given a quest. Deep within Ming Taw, guarded by an otherworldly creature is the Megatome. Those who possess it are able to read the thoughts of others and wield the power of sworcery.

So she has come to this far away place, away from her home, to become master of the Megatome. In doing so, she’ll be able to collect the three Golden Trigons and restore them to their proper places, likely making the entire world a better place.

If all that doesn’t sound awesome enough for you, don’t worry as there’s more to enjoy. Along the way the Scythian, and her associates Logfella, Dogfella and Girl will have pretty awesome observations about the world and what’s happening in it. You’ll also get to see a rock show starring the game’s composer, Jim Guthrie, and tweet your favorite lines to anyone who’ll listen. There will even be triangles to fight. A good time shall be had by all.

I hope you have a good imagination, because Sword & Sworcery is going to tap into it.

I have to start this off by raving about the Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP script. It is so fresh and good, it’s quotable. Almost every single line in the game, from dialogue style segments to simple observations, is both witty and perfectly delivered. Plus, you can share them. Now, normally I’m not a big fan of social networking within a game, but more than once I found myself choosing to tweet the Scythian, Logfella or Girl’s observations. I think I even tweeted one of the dog’s lines! The funny thing is, people who have also played may comment on it because they remember what happened at the moment when they came across that event, but I found people who had never played S&S or knew what it was would respond just as positively. It’s the perfect example of how universally entertaining the game is.

Then there’s the sound. This is a game where you absolutely have to turn your speakers up. Turn everything else down. Close the windows. You will want to savor every moment because it creates this perfect ambiance. I swear, there were times when I’d just close my eyes and listen to the music. Jim Guthrie has created a soundtrack that takes you to another world. Most magical are the moments when you’re able to awaken the sylvan sprites. Your character gets into this zone once a song of sworcery has been sung, and Guthries’ melodies transport you into this zone as well. The melody you hear when a sprite goes up into the sky is absolutely otherworldly.

Oddly enough, I was most impressed by the graphics. Superbrothers and Capybara decided to go with 2D sprites and environments, which you would think would be more limiting. Instead, they actually are more freeing because they encourage players to use their imaginations. While the environments contain a remarkable level of detail, most characters, monsters and animals are presented in stylized, elongated sprites. You have no idea what the Scythian, Logfella, Boor or other characters really look like, but what is there is enough to provide an impression that sticks with you. The Scythian is clearly an able, female warrior, for example. For the Boor, I imagined a sort of pig-faced ogre that was pretty harmless, and perhaps even a little goofy looking. It’s like the developers did just enough to honor retro games, while still creating an art-style all their own.

I do think a little was lost in the transition between iOS and PC, particularly when it comes to controls. It’s very easy to play, especially with long and short mouse clicks used to control the Scythian’s actions and explorations. I will admit that sometimes I’d forget I’d have to click and hold “just so” to make her follow the mouse without constantly clicking on locations for her to walk to. Also, I’d imagine the battles would be a bit easier and even have a bit more of a rhythm to them on iOS, when you could tap the screen, rather than having to hover and tap the right icon with your mouse. Still, these are relatively minor issues and as long as you’re not going from one platform to another, you won’t even notice the difference.

Open up your mind and ears for an transcendant game.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery is magic. The moment you begin, it feels as though you’re pulled into this other world where miracles really can happen. Even though the characters sound contemporary and are even quite self-aware, you can’t help but connect with everything going on in this extraordinary way. I think it’s because Superbrothers and Capybara Games’ presentation and Guthries music tap into your imagination. You get just enough information to get by, but the rest falls to you to think, draw connections, explore and enjoy the world around you. It’s absolutely thrilling and I’d have to say Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is the most excited I’ve been about a PC game since Recettear.

Site [Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP]

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