dkirschner's Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (PC)
| [June 24, 2012 12:46:29 PM]
| I totally caved to all the praise this game got and it was one of the reasons I bought that Humble Indie Bundle. But I gotta say I didn't really enjoy it on the whole. It just seems to have this 'cool retro indie' thing going for it that everyone is loving these days.
Pros: excellent pixelated visuals, soundtrack & sound effects, zelda love
Cons: boring gameplay, mood feels wrong mostly thanks to weird writing and language, illogical puzzles, TWITTER
For the pros, yeah it looks all retro which is very cool these days. But it's not just old school looking, it does sweet things with pixels. They animate ever-so-subtly to add apparent motion to the background. These visual throwback games should take notes because for me it's the difference between rolling my eyes at it and dropping my jaw at it.
The music is great and fits the game perfectly. The sound effects are enchanting and remind me somewhat of 'calming' games like Osmos, these airy blips and synthesized droplet notes. I loved everything about the sound, except the voiceovers, which fall under con category 'mood feels wrong.' A neat thing about this game is that it's also an EP for this musician, John Guthrie. I don't know who he is and I don't particularly care, but he did a nice job here, and it's something I'd like as standalone music too. It's also a neat way to distribute your music, wrapping it as an EP/game. He's in the game as himself briefly too, which is cool one time and just weird another time (again, see con: mood feels wrong).
For the cons, let's start with the worst. Twitter. This game really wants you to tweet about it and it's annoying and intruding as hell. Every time there is dialogue or any text whatsoever, this little Twitter tag pops up the top right of the screen. If you mouse over it, it asks "Tweet this?" No I don't want to fucking tweet this. Every single line of text! Which on one level is impressive that each piece of text is 140 characters or less. I applaud brevity, but I enthusiastically boo the devs insisting that I should tweet "The girl named girl and Logfella are sitting in the cabin." I can't think of much that people on my SNSes could care less about. BOOOOO!
Second, as you can tell from the girl named girl and Logfella, the writing is a mix of clever and irreverent. I actually like the girl named girl. But I didn't like Logfella...until I realized the dog was named Dogfella. Then I thought it was funny. There's a lot of alliteration, especially with the letter 'S.' It becomes over-the-top silly. I'm sure I didn't get a lot of the references in the game, but the main quest is most obviously and unabashedly Zelda's. You recover the Triforce for God's sake. And I said that the language and the writing make the mood feel off. The character says things like "There are three graves and we wondered what was up with that" or "We were totally jazzed about the awesomeness of that deer we just saw." Jazzed? Awesome and cool? What's up with that? I don't think it fits. I mean it fits, but I don't think it SHOULD fit. It's a fantasy game, but it has this modern bro-nerd-trying-hard-to-be-hip-and-ironic language. The visuals are cool and the sounds are cool, and the language just doesn't mesh. Also the voiceovers are weird. It sounds like the devs just leaned in to their laptop microphone in their bedroom and started talking "Hey...So uuh, you don't say much do you? Yyyyyep." It's not funny and it sounds out of place.
Finally, gameplay. The game was first released on touch devices and ported over to PC, but it's still obviously for touch devices first. If it had standard adventure game controls it would be fine, but they're below par. You play the whole game with the mouse just clicking and holding left-button for everything. It's just really boring. The fighting is boring and the wandering is boring if you're not busy marveling at the visuals or the sound, interacting with objects and things is tedious, especially the puzzles. Puzzles in this game stumped me completely at first. They all have to do with using this sworcery spell and just figuring out which order/which things in the environment to click on. It's not usually logical, just kind of start clicking on stuff and see what lights up.
I quit playing halfway through in the beginning of chapter 3 because I was stuck and when I looked up what to do in a FAQ, I couldn't believe the solution. I won't say it in case someone reads this and wants to play the game because it will totally spoil it. But I will say, study that book very carefully and you might figure it out. Let's just say that even if I wanted to continue, I'd have to wait until next week. Like the character names, I think this solution is both clever and stupid. Like, I enjoy the IDEA of it, but I don't enjoy being on the receiving end of it.
So, in the end, I can understand why this game got a lot of praise, especially looking at it as a mobile game. It's clever and innovative, and has a great style to it. But it's also got a lot of flaws. I'd like to see its strengths used and improved upon, perhaps in a more serious offering. Also it is Supershort. But I guess it's an EP, so it's forgivable.
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dkirschner's Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (PC)
Current Status: Stopped playing - Got frustrated
GameLog started on: Sunday 24 June, 2012
GameLog closed on: Sunday 24 June, 2012
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