To look back on the history of gaming and pick the games that were game changers or should have been is easy. For instance, looking back, Popful Mail should have been more popular than it was. Portions of Zelda II was an earlier variation on this 2D side scrolling action role playing game formula. Now, this genre has another classic, Swordigo by Touch Foo.
Playing Swordigo is like playing many games at once. Sometimes it feels like Popful Mail, other times more like Zelda II and then again, in certain situations, it reminds me of playing a Metroidvania style game. All the while, it is fun and challenging as levels are sprawling affairs with caves, castles and forests to lurk around for treasures, better swords, and more treasure.
Starting out as a young student in search of your master sets the course for a hell of an adventure. Enemies are everywhere and in the beginning, you are weak and only have a fairly weak sword to defend yourself. As the game progresses though, you pick up a better sword, some useful magic and as you gain levels, more power, health and magic capabilities. All standard action role playing fare, really.
The cool stuff is in how this is all presented. Using a 2.5D engine, Swordigo, sets itself apart as a title that screams nostalgia for retro gamers. Why are there not more games like this created, particularly on the Vita or the 3DS where you would expect these games to thrive. Instead, they are being created on Android and iOS, platforms that inherently have no physical controls (unless you import something like the JXD S7300). This is probably due to cost of entry and the fact that both Android and iOS platforms have really impressive backwards compatibility capabilities.
Back to Swordigo now, mapping the onscreen keys to the physical buttons on the JXD S7300 makes Swordigo feel like a “traditional” handheld title. This game really deserves to be on more hardware for more fans to enjoy it. Not just portables, but also consoles, Swordigo feels like a console game that happens to be on a portable.
Gameplay wise, we have double jumps and enemies that come out of nowhere (though as you play, you will learn to recognize their traits). Attacking is as simple as hitting the button, even jumping and attacking in mid air is easy. Touch Foo got things right here including not having any In App Purchases at all. That is right, you can get the full game for free though there are rumblings that In App Purchases are coming, eventually, in a future update.
Interestingly, Swordigo is only free on Google Play at the moment, it costs $2.99 on iTunes. Not sure if this is a sign of things to come for the Android version or not but worth noting.
If you miss playing 2.5D side scrolling action role playing games, grab Swordigo, it is easily worth your time investment. You won’t regret it.
Swordigo by Touch Foo
Platform: Android using the JXD S7300
Genre: 2.5D Side Scrolling Action RPG
In App Purchases: Not yet, though coming
Rated: Low Maturity on Google Play and 9+ on iTunes
Available now on Google Play and iTunes
The JXD S7300 is currently being phased out but the next generation JXD S7800 (quad core, 2 gigs of RAM and more) is already available at RGM sponsors such as Everbuying.com