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PCWorld's top 10 video game of 2012! (May 2012)

“Swordigo is a love letter to the platforming and adventure games of the past.” — SlideToPlay, 4/4


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Swordigo Review

Often, games are sold by being the newest and the best. They have the best graphics or the most sophisticated characters or the most options. Swordigo doesn’t pretend to be the prettiest. Your character can’t be one of 12 classes and evolve in one of 100 ways. Instead, Swordigo goes back to the basics and reminds you of the classics. You’ll jump across a platform, or fight a mini-boss, or visit the village shop, and remember the 8- and 16-bit legends of old. Swordigo is a love letter to the platforming and adventure games of the past.

Swordigo begins with a story. A villager has gone missing in the nearby forest, and you– an unnamed hero with spiky blue hair– must go find him. This two-dimensional world is filled with crevices and floating platforms you must traverse by jumping and double-jumping. There are also evil beasts you must defeat with your sword and magic. Once you make it to the lost villager, you learn that dark times are ahead.

Koopa troopa?

Beyond this prelude, the game opens up with familiar quests. In the beginning, your character must find a legendary sword to defeat evil demons that threaten life as we know it. Your character slowly learns magic spells, gets better weapons, and enters mysterious dungeons. A simple, grid-based map aids you in your tasks. You’ll also come across portals that, upon activation, let you teleport to any other portal you’ve found on the map, allowing you quick access to previously explored areas.

The game operates like most platformers. Left and right buttons move your character. Sword attack, magic attack, and jump buttons allow you to do battle against enemies and maneuver through difficult jumps. The game cleverly offers a customize option that lets you move any of these buttons, as well as any part of the heads-up display, to better fit your playing style.

Pit of despair.

Swordigo also uses a basic RPG system, which allows you to level up your character after battling enemies and earning experience points. Once you’ve reached a new level, you can either choose to increase your strength, health, or magic ability. You’ll also notice that, when doing battle with evil foes, your enemies have level rankings and health points. This is not a simple platformer with one-hit kill enemies. The bosses are, of course, even more difficult, and you’ll have to combine your sword and magic skills to become the victor.

Swordigo doesn’t feature intense cutscenes or voice acting. Instead, you’ll need to read varying amounts of text to get the story. While the story isn’t a necessity for the game, it does add a nostalgic flair. Even the sound effects, such as opening a treasure chest to discover loot, sound like an homage to old Zelda games. One unfortunate takeaway from the Zelda series, however, is a constant beep that occurs when you’re low on health.

Swordigo plays beautifully on iPad or iPhone, and even uses iCloud syncing for your save file, so you can continue your adventure from any of your iOS devices. Despite its slightly less-than-gorgeous looks, this game is a gem of platforming fun and a tribute to classic games like Zelda II, Castelvania II and Metroid. This game goes to show that flashy graphics and cutscenes don’t make a game great. They just make it look nice.

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Game of the Month, March 2012: Swordigo

March has been another fantastic month for iOS gamers. The power of the new iPad, along with its Retina screen, make it a welcome addition to the iOS hardware lineup, creating all sorts of potential for amazing games. One Retina-ready game released in March really connected with us as gamers more than any other: Swordigo, by Touch Foo.

Swordigo is a combination platformer/ RPG that somehow brings to mind our favorite memories of Mario and Zelda. It’s an adventure game where you must collect the pieces of a shattered sword, but you also have to navigate tricky jumps and environmental puzzles. The combat is excellent as well– you’ll level up your character as you hack at bats, knights, and even spiky turtles.

Like Touch Foo’s last game, Soosiz, Swordigo is refreshingly original and highly polished from start to finish. If you’ve ever owned an NES, it’s time to pick up where you left off in the 1980s and 90s with Swordigo.

Our runner-up for Game of the Month is Zuma’s Revenge HD, another masterpiece from Popcap Games. Zuma’s Revenge HD is a Match-3 game where you have to shoot colored balls from a mystical stone frog. The clacking and clattering of balls as they roll down the track will haunt your dreams if you spend as much time playing this game as we have.

Zuma’s Revenge HD also includes several high-score challenge levels, and boss battle scattered throughout the main campaign. There have been countless Zuma cones on the App Store for years, but Popcap’s excellent attention to detail beats them handily. It’s one of those rare puzzle games that will actually get your heartbeat racing.

Congratulations to Touch Foo and Popcap for creating two amazing games this month. Be sure to also check out our other Must Have games for March: Spin Up, Fade: Case of the Stolen Diamonds, Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy, Angry Birds Space, Burning Run, Hunters 2, Aaaaa!!!, Incoboto, and The Simpsons: Tapped Out.

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