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Apr 24 2012

Review: Swordigo iOS

Swordigo is a cross-device RPG for iOS that nods to classic titles.

First and foremost, I love RPGs but I will admit that I haven’t played many. That’s a valid statement isn’t it? My only experience with anything Zelda has been like an hour of Ocarina of Time. Inevitably, at least one reader’s jaw has dropped at this point. I bought Final Fantasy VIII on a whim when it came out and loved everything about it. I also played Final Fantasy X (apparently the last great one in the series – albeit the awkward ending) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Finally Fantasy X-2 is one of the only two games I’ve ever pre-ordered (Diablo III is the other) and, well, it makes a great coaster. No I haven’t played FF7 so just shut up before you start. For the record, Jay gave me two copies of FF4 and I intend to play one of them at some point. Golden Sun was frickin awesome, period. Finally, Solomon’s Keep for iOS was/is an excellent game — that we should probably review — with lots of re-playability. Ok, so let’s get to the meat.

Swordigo (why is it called that?) is an RPG developed by Touch Foo for iOS. You can play on iPod, iPhone, or iPad, and the game saves to iCloud which means you can quit on one device and pick up where you left off on another. I played exclusively on the iPad though I think Touch Foo had the right idea with that feature. I suppose you would classify the game as 3-D, but it’s more like blocky 2-D and absolutely nowhere near the likes of Infinity Blade. The game costs $1.99 on the app store and is very highly rated.

Swordigo was designed as a sort of throwback to classic RPGs and I think that if I had played Zelda, I may have experienced a sense of nostalgia. The story is straightforward, linear, and typical. Basically peace is threatened by some sort of dark, long suppressed evil and you must traverse the land, fighting through it in pursuit of the source. If you want the particulars, you can play the game.

Our hero has the hair of an anime character and some serious acrobatic skills. Let me begin by saying that Swordigo’s touch controls are, in my limited experience, second only to those of Solomon’s Keep. They are well mapped, intuitive, and responsive. There’s also a really cool feature in the menus that let’s you re-map the controls to your liking by simply dragging them where you want them. I was just fine with the defaults. Swordigo features an old-school side scrolling world, with transitions between environments in one of two ways: either you walk or run past the end of one place (indicated by a directional sign) and a quick fade to black takes you to the next, or you use the convenient portal system, which works exactly like in Diablo. Fighting monsters is supplemented with a generous amount of player vs. environment stuff (another Zelda allusion?); which got annoying many times — especially the damn wooden swings. Don’t even get me started on the vertical fireball maze. That key is just not worth the way your hairline is going recede from the stress. Save up for one.

In a nutshell, you run around killing monsters, getting treasures, and fighting bosses. The aim is to acquire all the pieces from an ultimate sword that you need to stand a chance against the final boss. I have to say I really love that there is no grinding required. Your level is always sufficient and that, in part, is thanks to a treasure known as Sack of Experience. You find it in chests and it is literally a sack. It’s kind of funny.

The item system is interesting in that there aren’t that many items and when you find something better than what you have it automatically equips and what it replaces simply vanishes. Money isn’t hard to come by and ultimately you should be able to afford everything for sale (and you’ll need it). You only buy from the store however, you don’t sell– strange but simple. The other thing is that you can only have one potion in your inventory at a time. This proved challenging at the very end, but it would be kind of broken otherwise.

It is worthwhile pursuing every single treasure from the world of Swordigo. The mini-map will tell you how many you have and how many there are in any given place. Some of them are a PITA (pain in the ass) to get to, but none are impossible. I’ll admit that I referred to a walkthrough at times in order to do this as well as to get through some annoying/frustrating parts of the game. Namely, the caves. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you get there.

Overall Swordigo had a lot of production value and I had fun playing it. Touch Foo seems to be new on the scene so I’m excited about future projects. I hope not only that they will continue to innovate, but that other developers will take cues from them. Swordigo is one of the better iOS RPGs out there and you should give it a try if your jonesing for one. There isn’t any re-playability though, unless you want to do the exact same thing a second time in almost exactly the same way but probably a little faster. <– That is a run-on sentence.

My rating in words: Pretty good, but annoying at times.

My rating in numbers: 8/10

You can find Swordigo via the App Store on one of your devices or by clicking here.

 

Be sure to check out TYG Talks Favourite RPG and/or Episode 21 of our podcast.

 

P.S. To Sal Was who, in my ATV 3 review, left a comment saying I don’t post a lot: Touché.

 

 

 

 

About the author

Steve

Steve is the host of the TYG Podcast and a founding member of the site. He enjoys stuff and things.

4 comments

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  1. askarl

    i love the idea of a sack of experience. :-)

  2. G

    Steve posting this is likely why its f*!$ing Snowing in April….

  3. Droidzero

    I am enjoying this so far; thanks for posting.

  4. Sceptre

    I bought swordigo about a month ago. It is an incredibly charming little game, and the controls feel great (a bit of a rarity these days)

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