Reviews

Lumbarjack – Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

The Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP soundtrack got a A+ out of 10 a little while ago, but what about the game itself? It’s terribad, right?

WRONG.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is a self-aware, sometimes funny, often touching adventure game with beautiful art and absolutely gorgeous sound design. It’s a unique marriage of sound, art and game, with each element as important as the others in creating the experience.

The graphics are pixel-art in style, but after spending time in the game world it doesn’t seem like a retro choice, it seems like the best choice – like the only choice – because the art is quite simply perfect. I can’t think of the last time I played a game with such beautiful environments and such a well-realised graphical style.

From the meta-narrative introductory screens, to the world and to the dream world within the world, everything has a dream-like quality to it. The different areas are all beautiful and sometimes surreal, the characters are quirky and interesting, and the forms of interactivity available to you reinforce the other fantastic elements. You can use a magical book to see the inner thoughts of the other characters – including a philosophical dog – and when performing sworcery you can play the environment itself like a musical instrument.

The music in the game is sublime. Even with the wide variety of spectacular soundtracks for indie games of late, the work by Jim Guthrie here stands apart as something truly special.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP started on iOS, and in the same way it can be irritating for a console port to tell you to “Press Start” on its superfluous opening screen, it’s odd when this game tells you to “Tap, Hold and Swipe.” When so much care and effort has gone into creating such a unique experience, it is jarring to find so little attention was given to some aspects of the port.
Even without an onscreen prompt telling you to “Tap” something, it is always apparent that you are playing a game that was designed for touch screens, and you might get the feeling that you’re playing the lesser of the two formats by missing out on that additional tactile element.

Porting issues aside, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is a fantastic game. It is beautiful, surreal and feels like an important entry into the canon of gaming.
Play it on iOS, Android, or PC. But play it.

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