Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP Review

By on May 3, 2011

And now for a little something different…


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First Impressions
My reaction is

Though I’ve been a fervent Apple user and supporter for a good part of my life, I have never been a stern advocate of the iPad. I don’t doubt that it’s cool, I just think its price heavily outweighs its use. Let’s face it, there is hardly anything I can do on the iPad that I cannot manage with more efficiency on my laptop or iPhone…that is until Superbrothers. At the time of writing this review, Superbrothers Swords and Sorcery EP has become available for the all other iOS devices however it is a game best experienced on the iPad. Fortunately for me, I find myself in temporary possession of an iPad 2 and nothing on it or about it has impressed me quite like Superbrothers S&S EP.

Superbrothers is by no means your conventional iOS game, in fact it is unlikely to resemble anything you’ve played before. If you can imagine thatgamecompany (developers of flOw and flower) making a King’s Quest-style point and click it may end up looking something like this. It is enough of a game to be considered one but odd enough to pose the question in the first place. I often prefer to refrain from using the term interactive art as i feel its a throughly problematic classification, but I cannot think of a better way to describe Superbrothers than as a work of art, an interactive work of art.  The game only really employs two interaction mechanics: touch either where you want the character to go or what you want him to interact with and turn the iPad (or other iOS device) to the portrait (vertical) orientation to enter battle mode. Battles are few and only really require aptly timed taps to strike or evade, still in the context of the game, the system works

The key to enjoying Superbrothers is to allow yourself to get sucked in. This is where I feel the large screen of the iPad coupled with a pair of noise canceling headphones can really make the difference. While the gameplay is so basic, it borders on the archaic, Superbrothers has a potent mood and a mesmerizing soundtrack that really packages the experience in a unique and enticing way. From its pixel-art visuals to its sublime text-based storytelling the game comes off as an intelligent and sophisticated experiment. It’s not quite a full-length game but I do suspect, had it gone on for much longer, it risks diluting its intriguing formula for interaction.

To claim that the soundtrack is phenomenal would be a massive understatement. In my humble opinion, it may be one of the best original video game soundtracks ever. It’s rich, atmospheric and is guaranteed to give you goosebumps. It not only works brilliantly with the game’s mood and visual approach but is a tantalizing listen in its own right as well. In fact, given the many references likening the game to a musical record, it is quite easy to believe the whole game was built around the music. The music and the wonderfully executed sound design really elevate the experience to something quite special.

An interestingly implemented feature of the game is the Twitter integration option. The type of integration is standard enough – at certain moments in the game you are prompted to tweet textual passages you’ve unlocked by other obtaining a certain item or completing a certain mission. Naturally tweeting is optional but the texts are often absurdly humorous that anyone would be forgiven for genuinely wanting to share, though the game itself instructs you to use this feature “with moderation” as if to say: use sparingly to not de-value.

If the intention of this game, or better yet this EP, is to test the waters then I truly hope many get on board and buy it. At 5$, it is well worth the investment. It may not keep you occupied long but at times it is a real treat to behold and a unique audio/visual experience. If anyone out there is looking for an example to strengthen the case of videogame as art, this game is for you.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
7
Could not be anymore simple but does its task well in the context of the game.
GRAPHICS
9
Wonderfully crafted pixel art sporting an atmospheric color palette and expressive character animations.
SOUND
10
Arguably one of the best game soundtracks of all time.
VALUE
8.5
A digital work of art for 5$. It may not be long, but its classy.
FUN FACTOR
9
I enjoyed the playthrough immensely and its also great to show to friends, family, colleagues, classmates...basically everyone.
OVERALL
8.7
It may be bizarre but its beautiful and anyone looking or willing to trying something different will not be disappointed. Be it game or not, I’m unlikely to forget Superbrothers anytime soon.

About

As an opinionated young gamer many years ago, I made three predictions: 1- Sega would dominate the console wars for 50 years. 2- Simon's Quest would be remembered as the definitive NES game. 3- I would be gaming even more as an adult. I suppose one out of three isn't bad.

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Comments
  • Alfalf

     Looks interesting


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