Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP is an absolutely mind-boggling sensory overload with heavy emphasis on dragging every bit of my psyche into this game. A near blissful experience wrapped in an 8-bit candy coated shell that will likely take you three licks to get to the center of. Brace yourself, this one awe-inspiring.
Ok, so before I go instant-fan-boy mode with O_O eyes and drool forming, let’s take a step back to really assess what this game is. Superbrothers is an adventure title/album. You heard me, album. I can’t find a right way to describe this game other than that. With unconventional storytelling and abstract puzzles abound, this title does nothing but draw you in.
Combat in the game makes you tilt the phone into its upright position (adventure mode being in landscape) and tap between deflecting with your shield, and attacking with your sword. Do yourself a favor: download this now, turn off the lights, plug the headphones in, and gorge yourself on the smorgasbord of audio delight and quirky, humorous dialog.
Typically my reviews entail snarky comments, witty one-liners, and pop culture references to prod the user for a giggle. I apologize if I am too busy basking in the awe this title creates to nail that one on this review.
Superbrothers does a superb job of painting a wonderful atmosphere and pulling you right into the midst of its world straight away. While I swear this game has about three or four “starting screens,” once you get into the game, things go from 1 to 11 on the happy-face scale. You move around the world with point and click style control and are free to move the camera around to search for clues and tap on things of interest. Do this often as there are a lot of tidbits hidden about to blend the story together and bring personality to the main character. When you get odd dialog such as “the Well, seemed unwell” and other funny tidbits, you will also have the option to tweet these sayings, if you so choose. While I personally don’t feel the need to barrage my followers with 140 character texts about by 8-bit adventure, perhaps it will strike your fancy.
Despite the name of the game being Superbrothers, the main character of the game is actually female. It may not be super apparent at first since she is not of the gravity-defying type that seems to be today’s trend.
Once I managed to plunder my way into Abe Lincoln’s face, and gather the magic book, known only as “The Burdensome Megatome” I inspected its powers. Apparently it grants me the mystical ability to essentially, communicate with things and automatically catalog the words spoken so I can review them later.. More likely than not a giant game mechanic device shrouded in the weavings of plot, though it does save me from writing things down.
Now this game is likely not for everyone as it is truly the pinnacle of the bizarre. It doesn’t have a very straightforward game type, nor objective. I suppose it’s more akin to the titles of Silent Hill (minus the gore and near-iconic, caution-cone adorning, Red Pyramid.) I suppose after playing a bit into it, killing a few things (which is clearly not the focus of the title and merely there to engage the user and prevent it from playing like a pixelated gloomy Where’s Waldo) I have to admit – I’m hooked. I will now further admit that I may or may not have spent an extra ten minutes moving my car into the garage last night, just to plug in my auxillary audio cable, recline the seat, and enjoy a bit of surround sound immersion into the world of Superbrothers.
My only complaint is that this game is going to be rather short. I’ve cleared the first part of the game, the curtains have closed and I’m on to part two. If you let the game sit too long, or quit out and come back in, you’ll get a record playing, and a note that reads how far into the game you are, and after about a half hour total, mine reads 20%. I’m scared to see the title end, but desperately want to find and enjoy the story this title brings to the table.
I only give this a four because I understand that not everyone likes pixel art. Personally I would give it a six, but that would be oh so blatantly obvious that I was biased. So a four it is, with my only gripe being that the 8-bit glory of this title will not entertain all audiences.
A lot of time is spent trying to figure out where and what you should be doing (which is fine) but I think a few more interactive bits in the early section of the game would have been rewarding – even if it was just poking a nest and seeing birds fly out into the distance. Combat is solid (although very timing-dependent) and the game’s characters truly come to life with wonderful (albeit silly at times) dialogue.
Words do not do this justice. Go play this game. Seriously! Download it right now… If you are among the gamer elite who feel that audio makes or breaks a game, this one is right up your alley. Both the music and ambient sounds are flawless and serves as a perfect example of what other games should aspire to be.
This game is straight-up weird. I promise you will spend the first 10 minutes pulling a funny face thinking to yourself “What on earth am I playing? What did OWC Tony have me download THIS for??”. I assure you this games quirky puzzles, wonderful tweet-able dialogue, and combat phone orientation will set it apart from the other games on your iDevice.
SO CLOSE. No seriously, I had to pinch myself to avoid giving this a 5, it was so tough. If the game were longer, and had a bit more going on in the first act, it may have actually got the coveted overall of 5. Sorry fellas, not a flawless title, but ever so close.