The Swource of all Evil


Resource gathering, troop training, construction and research can all take a loooong time in “The Hobbit, Kingdoms of Middle Earth” so while I’ve been waiting for my little Elves to perfect their bowman-ship,  my tax collectors to refill the coin purse and my master craftsmen to construct majestic improvements to my city I have been filling the time trying to get to grips with a little belter I picked up for a holiday bargain on the Google Play store.

sword and sworcery

In Sword and Sworcery you take on the role of the Scythian as she searches for the mysterious mega-tome and attempts to seal away the darkness which plagues the world she has entered. Starting out there is no simple tutorial to play through you just have to figure things out as you go, abandoning the virtual pad which is overused to the detriment of most touch screen adventures this game is controlled with a series of taps, swipes and gestures which makes for a far more pleasing experience. To move the Scythian you can use a simple double tap on your destination or a hold to follow function this means you can concentrate more on your surroundings than struggling to move around and this is something you will find both useful and enjoyable. The pixel art styling of the game is exceptionally detailed and stunning to look at, the art work and the sound are the heart of this beast and it is something that begs to be absorbed and prodded.

a house that looks oddly like a face

The game recommends using headphones and that is a good call, the ability to hear what’s going on in your enviroment from the tip tap of footsteps to the rustling of the undergrowth is a massive advantage in helping guide you along in the early stages of the Scythians tortured journey. The game itself pays almost like a point and click adventure but without any of the tedious item searching and pointless conversations, there aren’t many non-player-characters in the game Logfella, Dogfella and Girl are the only three you meet in the first two chapters and they are not what you would deem conversationalists. The real star of this game is the world in which it takes place there are puzzles cleverly woven into the environment and interestingly tied in to the cycles of the moon and it does prove something of a head scratcher in the later stages.

the door

The music is beautiful and haunting if you’re not already listening to it I implore you to hit the play button at the top of the post and soak up the score provided by Jim Guthrie  fits so well with the games sound effects and adds to the atmosphere in a way that would make most video game composers green with envy.

Playing this title has renewed my faith in the touch screen adventures whilst your Zenonia games and similar are all reasonably decent I always find them to be lacking somewhat in innovation. Most of us now carry around in our pockets a touch screen device capable of so much more than a traditional controller, why don’t we see more games in the vein of the DS Zelda titles which optimise the use of the touch screen over the game pad? It’s a more difficult feat to achieve it would seem, it’s a lot easier for a developer to simply throw in a virtual pad rather than imagine new control techniques or in this case re-imagine control techniques to work with your game. Switching your device from landscape to portrait to perform actions, tilting on an angle, pinch to zoom and sweeping the camera with your fingers to get a better view all work brilliantly here and lend the gameplay an organic nature which is sorely missing in most mobile rpg/adventure games.

spot_archetype

From the introduction we are guided through the story by a mysterious, creepy but snappily dressed cigar smoking host the Archetype, who will explain the basic premise behind the coming chapter and throughout chapters will offer handy hints via your mega-tome (once you acquire it) I mention him mainly because something about him really freaks me out and I wanted to put a picture of him in.

You will feel a connection to the strange folk  you meet along the way (despite their monosyllabic nature), a yearning to learn more about the mysteries surrounding the Scythian and the evil that follows the mega-tome. The strange way in which the story is narrated with really obscure references and just down right ridiculous lines keeps the entertainment value high throughout you can even post your favourite peculiar lines to twitter. Check out #sworcery to see for yourself some of the weirdness for yourself.

scythian and dogfella

An adventure not unlike “Journey” in so far as it it focused on style and substance rather than flashing images and explosions Sword and Sworcery is a compelling title which begs to be played and deserves a lot more attention than many of its high ranking mobile game rivals.

eremenko

Surviving … again

The Indie game trend is continuing to gather pace and as Dosser already talked about his pick of the up coming titles Environmental Station Alpha I thought it wise to bring to your attention a little java game I’ve been spending some time with lately.

The Indie Stone have a little corker which is well on it’s way to completion in Project ZomboidCurrently in alpha stage the game is already feeling like an original and interesting concept. Zombie games are ten-a-penny these days and with some excellent titles already available (The Dead Rising series, L4D, The Walking Dead and DayZ among the greatest) it’s a market that continues to grow despite being arguably overstuffed (on brains). Personally I couldn’t be more thrilled I friggin love Zombie games especially when they create a terrifying atmosphere like this one.

Placing you in the shoes of one of the few survivors in the suburbs of Muldaurgh you have an injured woman to care for and no starting resources to do so. Not going down the first /third person route typical to this genre but rather an isometric style allowing you a better view of your surroundings (for all the good that will do you). Graphics are kind of like a really shiny 16-bit game and the whole appearance puts me in mind of Zombies-ate-my-neighbours crossed with The Sims. Surviving will entail securing your safe-house, eating, drinking and perhaps most interestingly … sleeping. This is something you don’t have to do in any Zombie game as far as I can recall and it’s something you would not want to try without the knowledge that your base is impenetrable or your watchman/woman reliable it is a terrifying addition here. As in DayZ the only quest in the game is to survive this seems an almost impossible task and you will eventually die. I have only played the pre-alpha demo and I have not fared well thus far dying at the hands of another crazy survivor and again in a fire. I have not yet managed to survive beyond the second day but the game intrigues me enough to warrant buying as soon as possible. The Indie Stone promise an ongoing development in a manner similar to Minecraft with updates coming constantly adding new weapons, Items and areas. Games like this along with Minecraft and the upcoming Under the Ocean should be admired by the larger studios who really need to take a lesson from this kind of dedication, I can’t help but feel the idea of putting out an unfinished game would be far less frowned upon if future upgrades and dlc were provided free of charge for you the consumer.

a bugged player in fifa 13

How the hell did this get past the testers!?!

Throw into the mix a deep crafting system (barricading, cooking, weaponcrafting) and the option to co-op with your friends (surviving is less painful when you have someone you trust at your side) and you have here a project that might be able to oust even the great Mojang as top Indie developer.

Also this game may well prove to be good training for all of us if things pan out the way Joss Whedon predicts.

Whedon on Romney

Keep your friends close folks ……. you’re gonna need them soon.

Happy Halloween.

eremenko.