SpellSword is a great time-killer that I have wasted a good many breaks on . This is your classic 8-bit, 2D hack and slash with random bits thrown into the mix and it’s available on Android (free) and iOS ($2.99).
Unlike most 2D games, this one does not have you racing through levels trying to rescue a princess or find a treasure chest. Instead, you play as a young hero who’s dropped into a confined area, says witty things, and then gets swarmed by all types of foul beasts.
All you have to do is hack, slash, and stay alive long enough to complete some simple missions. There are only four worlds and no bosses. Everything is controlled by four on-screen buttons: One to move left and right, one to jump, and one to attack: simple. In fact, it may be the simplicity that drew me to this game.
As you progress you will gain gems and coins. Gems are easy to come by and allow you to upgrade spells and weapons at a steady pace, while coins allow you to get the bigger and better pieces of armor. This whole coin thing may have some of you whining, “Oh, so you can just buy your way through the game? Boring!” Well, hush up and keep reading! The devs actually did something I can appreciate in this aspect.
Remember how I said you had to unlock things as you went? Well, that applies to coin-bought items as well. Yep, you can’t just buy a bunch of coins and get the best weapons in the game. You gotta wait like the rest of us poor folk. I think this gives the game some much needed longevity. To be honest, I have plenty of coins to buy a piece of armor at the end of the Missions section and I haven’t spent a penny. Now I just have to figure out how to unlock the darn things.
This game is full of magic, as should be obvious by the title, but you don’t learn spells, you just collect a spell card and POOF! Off it goes. Most spells have two effects: one instant (like blowing up a bunch of enemies), and one persistent, giving your sword a unique ability for a limited time. I think the different spells are what make this game so fun, and having to reach a card to use them ads a unique challenge. Now, I don’t want to spoil too much about the spells, but just know they range from fireballs and poison to making you sword bigger.
That’s right, in the Mission mode you become a double-0 agent and have to complete a task. They usually ask you to do things you would normally do to stay alive. They range from surviving multiple waves of enemies, to breaking X number of item boxes, to collecting enough spell cards before a timer runs out.
Boy, I’m starting to think this isn’t as simple as I first believed.
To be honest, I am usually put off by 8-bit art. This time however, I don’t mind it. It fits the game quite well, and you can see the details of every character, world, monster, spell, and helmet (the only visible piece of armor) took a decent amount of time to make. It’s the little things like shading of the monsters and the way some pieces of the worlds move like they would in real life that tells me some code monkey cared about making these four little worlds unique. If only they took as much care to make the game run well.
This definitely is not a game that will run well on older phones. It runs fairly smoothly on my Galaxy Nexus, but even it struggles to keep 30fps when too many enemies fill the screen. Don’t even think about trying it on a phone older than a year (it locked up on my girlfriends original Galaxy S). I think it just gets to be too much random processing for the little ARM processors to take. However, if you have a modern phone you should be okay.
Now I know what you are thinking: “I thought you said this game was simple?” Well, maybe I lied a little bit, but it’s still a great game that I suggest everyone at least check out! It’s a great way to kill time, and you can advance in the game as short as five minutes.