Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
Capybara Games' highly anticipated iPad creation, Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP, is just much a game as it is a visual and aural experience. All of these elements combine to form one of the App Store's most intriguing, enjoyable and kooky titles, a game that manages to stick with the player long after he or she leaves the retro inspired world.
While described as an action adventure, Superbrothers is largely a point and click affair, as the user guides the hero through a dangerous land, clicking the screen to interact with different characters, enemies and objects. Play for just 20 minutes, and you'll take advantage of everything the iPad has to offer, from poking the responsive touch screen to tilting it vertically to open a book and sending Twitter updates during play to confuse your friends. This is, without question, a fine example of a game built from the ground up for Apple's device.
In addition, the story is well written, at times feeling like Lord of the Rings with a sprinkle of The Matrix thrown in for good measure. It's impossible to guess the narrative's twists and turns, while the ability to see non-player characters' thoughts adds depth to the experience.
Superbrothers' biggest feature, the soundtrack, has received heaps of praise and rightfully so. Jim Guthrie's powerful score drives the experience, perfectly complimenting each scene, particularly the boss fights and musical puzzles. To say you should play with headphones on is a huge understatement.
Speaking of the puzzles, the developers found imaginative ways to integrate them into the quest, as you manipulate the environment to create harmonious melodies to stop a rainstorm or call out the next adversary.
Combat, meanwhile, tasks you with recognizing patterns and blocking or striking back with shield and sword, respectively. You must also hold the iPad vertically, which automatically zooms to fit both hero and monster within the screen.
All of this makes Superbrothers' a worthwhile addition to your iPad library, though the game certainly has some issues, starting with backtracking, and lots of it. Despite the cool 8-bit graphics, wandering through the same set pieces gets old; the fact that the hero plods along doesn't help.
Meanwhile, those puzzles sometimes require good old-fashioned trial and error. As for the combat, it's the same thing throughout the entire game, and dying forces you to repeat the scene that plays before each fight; you restart the battle with less health.
Our advice? Play Superbrothers once or twice a day, and not for long to maximize enjoyment. At least this way, you'll get the most from what is roughly a two to three hour video game. Ah yes, and remember to bring headphones.
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2.1 or later.
What's Hot: Excellent soundtrack, old school graphics, satisfying point and click gameplay, interesting story, Twitter integration.
What's Not: Too much backtracking, limited combat.