Saturday, December 22, 2012

First Impressions: Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP

Another Humble Bundle game!  The Humble Bundles are the best thing ever.  By the way, there's one going on right now.  11 more daysUpon reviewing my files, I recently discovered that I've bought five Humble Bundles.  Which probably accounts for about 35 of the 50 or so games in my steam account.  I'll probably never play them all, but I'm glad I gave Sword and Sorcery EP a look.  So far, at 2 hours in, I am having a great time.

The game is beautiful in a neat 'retro' way that captures my heart.  I can't explain it, but the graphics and design really mesmerize me.  The visuals are great, the sounds and the animation are also great.  Everything seems to fit in the world, and no element clashes to pull me out of my absorption in the game.  I've enjoyed the sound so much that I decided to download the soundtrack (another perk of the humble bundles).

The story follows a character known as the Scythian.  She is wandering around looking for something called the Trigon, which appears to simply be a triangle.  Except using the 'gon' suffix like a pentagon or septagon.  She encounters some people along the way to help her and some others who are trying to hinder her.  And the whole time the graphics and sound are just great.  

The controls took a little getting used to.  My only real problem was that I didn't realize that I could double-click to direct  the Scythian to walk or interact with items.  I thougth I had to hold the button down, which does work, but it also is the same action that I use to look around the screen.  Mixing the two of these up was frustrating, but since I figured it out, the controls have given me no trouble at all. 

The name is kind of stupid, and so far the writing is pretty stupid as well.   For example, the lumberjack that the Scythian meets early on is named "logfella."  And then the dog she encounters is named "dogfella."  The thing about the dialogue is that it seems to be speaking directly to the player, and not to the Scythian.  The other characters in the story will speak of the Scythian and not to her, and the Scythian herself uses the royal 'we' whenever expressing herself verbally.  After playing the game for a couple of hours, the dialogue has started to become charming, instead of annoying.  I think this comes from the consistency of the silliness.  The game seems to break the fourth wall as a rule, instead of an exception, and this somehow works.  

There are some themes that I don't really understand.  One is the 'EP' theme.  I am guessing that the inclusion of EP in the title is to indicate that the game won't be very long (I have been playing 2 hours and have 47% completion) and that maybe it indicates that the soundtrack won't be very long, as an vinyl record EP runs a standard of about 25 minutes.  The menu screen for the game prominently features an image of an EP vinyl record.  The record reacts to the players menu choices.  Another theme is the triangle, or 'trigon' theme.  Triangles feature in all of the menus, and also as the main source of conflict for the Scythian.    

I want to throw in that the lead character, the Scythian,  appears to be female, based on the sound of her grunts as she swings her sword. However, she is not portrayed as 'super-feminine' - a nice departure from so many of our video game heroines.

The game is available for eight bucks on steam, but I got it for much less, given it was a Humble Bundle.  I probably dropped $20 bucks on Humble Bundle V, and still the games were about $3 apiece.  hells yeah.


I want to also make a quick mention that there was a reference to Al Jaffee in this game.  Yes, that Al Jaffee.  I think that was the precise moment that the silly dialogue began to win me over.  

Also, I want to mention again that the Humble Bundle 7 is out right now and has 11 days to go.  Pay what you want, can't beat that price!

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