This is part four of a four part, in-depth study of what makes a great game. Reader be forewarned, there be spoilers afoot.
If you’ve read the reviews for Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, you already have a sense for how fantastic the game is. Boot up the app on your iPhone or iPad (the iPad version is definitely recommended), and you arguably get one of the best games to have come out of this generation. I say this regardless of the platform.
However, few know how complete and transcendental the gaming experience S:S&S EP delivers. We aim to lay it all out. For those of you who have never heard of this game, and those of you who don’t own an iOS device, we also aim to let you know why you should still take note.
Transcend the Genre
S: S&S EP is a social game. S: S&S EP is a core game. S: S&S EP is a psycho-social, audio-visual, interactive experiment. It can fit in all these categories and more. One of the greatest accomplishments of this game is that it can combine all features from a plethora of sources and still manage to be thoroughly enjoyable.
Take, for instance, the Twitter aspect. Each piece of dialog and second person observation can be tweeted. At first, this may seem superfluous. However, there may be something to this feature – just search “#sworcery” on Twitter and see how many people use the hash tag.
Then think about the traditional avenues of getting help when met with an especially challenging puzzle or task. I for one found myself cycling through the hash tag search for a clue at a particular point in the game.
Offering not an intrusive feature, the game never stalls you with annoying pop-ups telling you to tweet. In fact, an odd suit and tie NPC, The Archetype, encourages you to use this feature sparingly. Instead, the feature is available but kindly tucked away with a small button on the far side of the screen.
In the most romantic sense, S: S&S EP is essentially trying to climb out of the iPad tablet and exist in the real world with the player. This can be seen not only on Twitter, but also in the second person POV and the game’s self-reflexive musings. The Archetype defines the game for you, “[t]he expanded consciousness, the untapped & limitless potential of the mind, is what we at Superbrothers refer to as ‘sworcery’” and addresses you along your progress, “[a]s you can see, The Megatome gathers & collects linguistic through transmissions. Scroll down to see what I was thinking before”.
My enamor with S: S&S EP started way before I even knew it was a game (see part 2, Transcend The Audio). I seemed to have been swept into it. Once there, The Megatome may have took hold my thoughts and guided them to pore over every little detail, finding nothing to complain about.
It’s a hard thing for a discriminating gamer to call a game stunning. Superb. Awesome. Perfect. It is definitely transcendental. Ultimately, I’ll rely on what the developers call it.