Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TGD Review: A Swolid, Swuper Awesome Game for the iPad

I've made no secret of the fact that I love video games. It has also been well documented here that I am a big fan of fantasy adventure. One of my favorite games ever combines these two loves of mine: The Legend of Zelda: the Ocarina of Time. In my humble opinion, it is the single greatest fantasy adventure video game of all time.

Since it is the gold standard by which I judge any other game that might fit this genre, few other games have impressed me. I'm often left feeling cheated and pandered to by adventure games. It's difficult to find a single player game that completely immerses you in the world of the story and keeps you interested from beginning to end with challenges of increasing difficulty.

Do you have the same problem? Do you have an iPad? If you answered yes to both of these, or even just the second, you are in luck. I just completed Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (yes, that's how it is spelled) on the iPad, and it was everything I hoped it would be.

You begin knowing little about the truth behind your character's epic quest, other than the prevailing feeling that it is, in fact, nothing short of epic. The soundtrack pushes you forward, the simple yet elegant 8-bit stylized scenery wows you, the puzzles test your wit. At times early on in the game, you sense an evil looming over you that you just can't explain but you know that you cannot stop until it is vanquished.

Isn't that the way a fantasy adventure game ought to make you feel? (Hint: the correct answer is yes. Yes it should.)

At it's heart, the game is simple. The quest is an adaptation of quests that have been done before. Part of the beauty of this game, however, is exactly the fact that it doesn't try and create an insanely deep and complicated plot. It knows what you want and it gives it to you. But then it sprinkles all sorts of awesome on top. It takes full advantage of the big HD iPad screen, the ability to look about your surroundings with the swipe of a finger and the ability to wield your sword by turning the device.

The only element I feel it lacks is length. I wish it took as long as Zelda to finish, but for $4.99 on a touch screen device, what can you expect?

In order to fully enjoy it, get a decent set of headphones and sit with it in a dark room. The experience is much like Limbo on Xbox Live. You will find yourself spending more time than you thought playing it and may have to shock yourself back into the real world when it's time to take a break.

If you have five bucks to spare on your iTunes account, have an iPad and love fantasy adventure, this is the game for you.

TGD Rating: 4/5 star; simple awesomeness

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