A true disempowerment fantasy.
I just finished Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP. What started out as a breezy adventure game quickly turned into a commentary on death, inevitability, and how much control a video game player actually has. I'm getting ahead of myself. If you don't know, EP is a game by Superbrothers and Capybara games. I wanted to find out a little about the Superbrothers but they/he/she don't seem to know that some of us don't use Twitter or have an iPhone or want to sign up for an email list. Anyway, Capybara games is a prolific iOS developer, putting out such classics as “Monkey on Your Back!” and “Manic Medic AKA Take Yer Meds!”. They also made Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes. You know that game, right? Anyway, they seem pretty proficient in iOS development so it makes sense that they would make a bad iOS to PC port right?
Okay, it's not bad, but it's not great either. Still, the differences between an iPad and my laptop are pretty big. I can't shake my laptop and expect a response, I can't have multiple points of contact on the screen with only one mouse, and onscreen buttons have no place when a keyboard is present. I played the entire game without using the keyboard, but that's because I had forgotten that you could use it. None of these problems break the game, but it does make it an unpleasant experience some of the time.
The power of my laptop, on the other hand, is a very positive difference between PC and iPad. It means that more lush graphics can be pushed onto my displ-they're using pixel art!?!?! I thought we had moved past pretentious pixel art? Oh wait, it's got an interesting color palette and doesn't bring to mind any specific visual style, game, or platform? Huh, that's a bit different. The music is also a bit different. Composed by Jim Guthrie, a jam man/band artist, the soundtrack runs the gamut from synthesized chiptunes and triumphant rock themes. I especially liked the tones given off by the sprites that tickled my pleasure centers like no other video game noise has in a long time. It's unfortunate that the Humble Indie Bundle V is no longer being sold, because the really great soundtrack comes with that one.
What I really wanted to write about was the ending, but since I don't want to spoil it:
Anyway, I liked the game, but I thought that there was a lot in the way of my enjoyment. The moon stuff was clever for about the first five minutes of thinking about it, and then it just became tedious and boring even with the ability to change it whenever you want. The social media nonsense is also layered pretty thick in a way that makes it look super gross. The pattern based memorization in the boss fights reminded me of Punch-Out!!!, but in a bad way somehow. Ultimately, though you'll have to get past the touch-based nature of the game on a device that doesn't let you use that input method. Also, the game didn't credit me for some achievements that I know I achieved. Sucks.