Lacking all of the extra bulk included in normal role-playing games, Swordigo ($1.99) focuses on the main forte of said titles of similar breed: hacking and slashing through arsenals of respawning enemies. Though it doesn’t boast an inextricable system of deciding from one of three classes, choosing from a seemingly endless plethora of weapons, armor and magic, level grinding or the most realistic 3D assets, arguably for better or for worse, Touch Foo’s newest flawlessly combines platforming with RPG elements to bring you an overwhelming amount of enjoyable content.
Like most, Swordigo begins with introducing you to the back story while also explaining the basics along the way. There’s not all of that not needed jazz regarding picking a character or a class, like we’ve mentioned above. Instead, you’re stuck controlling the spiky-haired dude you’ll see in all of the following screenshots. After learning that a fellow villager has gone missing in a nearby forest, you go out in search for him.
As you traverse through the initial level setups, you’ll slowly be introduced to the controls. Left and right buttons will control left and right movement. The worlds are composed of many platforms for which you’ll need to jump and double jump to reach. There’s also an attack button and a magic button, which uses one of four spells that you’ll collect throughout the whole game. Once you reach the lost villager who has unfortunately passed away and ha snow become a wise ghost, you’ll discover that there’s no light at the end of the cave. In other words, evil is approaching.
Beyond this initial introduction, the game opens up with quests. You’ll navigate through a ton of areas, each differing from one another with unique environments including wastelands, forests, caves, snow peaks and more. A grid map will show the areas you’ve since discovered and will also display the amount of treasure chests located in each area; these will often hold valuable items such as the in-game currency that can be used at local merchant shops, items and also sacks of experience, and they’re always in peculiar areas that take strategy or the use of puzzles to reach. Portals in each area can also be used to quickly travel to other areas with portals that you’ve visited. They’re further used as checkpoints as such for when you die.
Swordigo also has the usual RPG leveling up system. As you kill enemies, you’ll gain experience points. Leveling up allows you to increase your skill in one of three areas. You can either increase your attack, your health or your magic energy. You’ll also notice that opposing enemies will have levels and a health bar that decreases with each blow.
As Swordigo aims to simplify the otherwise complex backend used for RPG titles, it pays homage to similar games of past day. One example that clearly comes to mind is the Zelda series. Environments, character sprites and sound effects resemble those of Zelda. Swordigo is a universal application, and it flows fluidly on both the iPad and the iPhone. While the artwork isn’t anything to be greatly complemented, it has its own style that’s hard to miss.
Though the story lasted a good 7-8 hours in total, it never felt like the game was being dragged on too long especially with the variation used with level design, included puzzles, many enemies with unique perks and fairly-occasional boss fights. Regardless of your playing level, hardcore gamer or casual, Swordigo has enough to whet your appetite and keep you coming back for more. It doesn’t have much replay value once you complete the story, but it takes time getting to that point; a few hours, at least, and ever minute is packed to the brim with action and fighting. Similarly, you can level up afterwards by once again killing bosses and can also go back to discover all of the chests hidden around the game’s large world.
If there’s anything that Touch Foo successfully proved with Swordigo, it’s that an RPG without the usual elements incorporated in games of comparative breed doesn’t have to be trite, to say the least. Swordigo still manages to please and introduces a new take on the common genre that I’m certainly looking forward to experiencing again in the near future. There’s surely no better option for the same $1.99 price tag.