Grab your sword and fight evil in this retro flavored adventure.
Some financial blowhards think Nintendo's developers should create games for iPhone and iPad, but if titles like Touch Foo's Swordigo are any indication, that won't be necessary.
There's no point sugarcoating it: the game appears to be a homage to The Legend of Zelda franchise, specifically the first two entries on the old Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It's a 2.5D side-scrolling adventure starring a young warrior charged with saving his world from the Corrupters, an evil group of beings hell bent on making people suffer.
What ensues is good old-fashioned platforming, 80s and 90s style, back when players only needed a few buttons to run, jump and attack.
To that end, you'll explore a monster filled land battling enemies with sword slashes and four magic spells, one of which lets you place bombs that damage foes and destroy objects, while another empowers the character with concentrated energy blasts.
With each defeated creature, the hero gains experience. Over time, you'll be able to level up, increasing his attack, magic and health to make him stronger, which is an absolute must if you intend to make it out of the game's dungeons alive.
That said, it definitely helps that the controls are so spot on. The developers did an excellent job making each virtual button immediately accessible, and we had little problem jumping between swinging blades, leaping to new areas and picking up/throwing boxes strategically placed throughout the environments; you can even customize the HUD.
On top of that, dying isn't too costly. Falling into a pit lets you restart from that exact location, but a step or two away from doom, while more serious deaths kick you back to the previous checkpoint, which also doubles as jump gate to previously explored areas, giving you the opportunity to pop into town, heal up and then return to the castle in just a couple minutes.
What's more, the game has a cool soundtrack that definitely promotes the adventuring spirit. Once it kicks in, you won't hesitate to grab a sword and come out swinging.
Conversely, the graphics look dated compared to other iOS titles, but if you think of 8-bit Zelda and then bash the visuals, you've missed the point entirely.
The biggest knock against Swordigo is the narrative, or lack thereof. It's your typical "save the world" story and there's little of it to speak of, which may prevent you from pushing onward.
We also spotted minor performance hiccups that mostly occurred outside. A bit odd, given the game's simplistic appearance.
Finally, and this is more for longtime gamers, there's definitely a sense that you've seen and done this all before. Pushing crates, searching for treasure chests, platform hopping...the fact that the app doesn't do anything fresh and exciting isn't a knock against it per se, but it could prevent some players from sticking with it longtime.
We certainly hope they do, of course. What Swordigo lacks in revolutionary ideas, it more than makes up for that with hours of nostalgic fun. It's a sweet throwback to another era of gaming, before hundreds of side quests and longwinded cut scenes essentially ruined everything. That's the classic gamer in us talking, and if you share that opinion, this is without question one of the App Store's guiltier pleasures.
What's Hot: A classic NES style adventure on iOS, excellent and customizable touch controls, merciful checkpoint system, powerful music.
What's Not: Simple looking graphics, minor performance issues.