Five Reasons I Love…

Within the next 24 hours everyone will finally be able to feast their eyes on Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.  This game is the richest and most compelling experience I’ve had on my iPad to date.  I’ll talk more about what makes this game special for me, but there’s something else I’d like to point out before I go there.  S:S&S EP is the result of a three-way Toronto-based collaboration:

  • Visual designer Craig “Superbrothers” Adam whose minimalist, modern pixellated style is unmistakably his.
  • Game development studio Capy, who are responsible for my favorite DS game of all time, Clash of Heroes.
  • Musician Jim Guthrie, a Toronto indie rock hero venturing into game development for the first time.

Having known Capy co-founders Nathan Vella and Kris Piotrowski for a few years now, I’m especially excited for them as this work represents the next step in their departure from work for hire and entry into self funded work over which they have total creative control.  S:S&S EP is a great example of the wonderful things that can happen when creativity is left to creatives.

Anyway, here are five reasons I love S:S&S EP…

1. One-offs. Most game programmers like to make games with reusable systems because it allows them to effortlessly add new content without any programmer intervention. Angry Birds is a good example of this.  They can crank out new content at breakneck speeds.  S:S&S EP is the opposite of that.  It is full of hand crafted moments, one-offs that someone conceived of, artist Craig Adams drew one pixel at a time, and programmer Frankie Leung implemented, creating code that is used in only one place in the game.  These are moments that surprise in the most delightful ways because the game simply hasn’t prepared you for them.  They exist in only one place in the game.  In the present moment as you experience them.  As a game developer there is no greater testament to the care and love that go into making a game than one-off moments because they simply don’t make sense from a budgeting or production point of view.

2. Effective use of music.  The game’s “EP” suffix is well earned and I can only imagine that this is Jim Guthrie’s involvement that makes the soundscape of this game such an integral part of the experience.  The game as a whole is structured as a record, having two “sides”.  Music changes at places where you don’t expect (mid-screen, rather than during interstitials), and it does so in support of the player’s experience.  The game also makes powerful use of silence, a side of music that is mostly ignored in video games.

3. Player awareness. As I played through, I constantly felt that the game is there as a friend, considerate and aware of me, suggesting that now may be a good time to take a break, and filling me in on where we left off as I returned for more.  There are many small examples of this that I’d rather not elaborate on so as to not diminish the magic of the individual moments.  Even the trailer (see below) weaves you, the player, into the experience of the game.

4. As much a toy as it is a game. There is no traditional menu to speak of.  Every aspect of this game oozes a sense of discovery.  Play around with what you see on the screen and see what happens.  You don’t touch the start button, you find your way into the game instead.  With the way the game makes use of the touch screen and accelerometers you find yourself not just playing with the game, but playing with the device itself.

5. Harmony. I just can’t think of a better word to describe the overall experience of connecting with this gem of a game.  Get some head phones, find a comfortable place to sit, maybe a favorite chair in which you enjoy reading a book.  Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and set aside some time to let yourself get absorbed.

If you’ve ever played and loved an adventure game as a kid, you owe it to yourself to play this wonderfully nuanced, all grown up, made-just-for-you game.  You can get it here.


11 Responses to “Five Reasons I Love…”

  1. Doctorok Says:

    This really looks great. I don’t have an iPad, but if it’s eventually released for iPhone it will be a must have for me. I don’t think it will though. :\
    Speaking of iPhone, any idea on when WoG is to be released? It’s been nearly a month since it has been announced and all of your fans are trying to be patient! We love you, 2Dboy! :D

  2. Doctorok Says:

    Sorry about the last comment. xD
    Just found out it will be released for iPhone! I’m very excited now! :D

  3. Calstin898 Says:

    Cool, if there’s an iTouch version I’ll go check it out! Speaking of iTouch, when’s WoG coming for it? My iPod is craving goo. :P

  4. Fabian Says:

    No offense. But, I’m actually looking forward to Sword and Sworcery, more than WoG iPhone. Maybe because I have already played WoG on my pc. I don’t know. But both are the most beautiful games I’ve ever seen! And both are games that never gets old.
    I’m searching every day on the internet after a sign that one of them finally is released to iPhone.

  5. Sword & Sworcery EP ya disponible para iPad | Game Under. Revista de videojuegos y consolas. PC, PlayStation, Xbox 360 y Wii Says:

    […] los afortunados que poseen un iPad y que se han comprado el juego. De todas ellas me quedo con la opinión 2D Boy, los chicos de World of Goo, que han dado 5 razones por las que aman S&S. […]

  6. Marc Says:

    This looks really great! I hope they will release an Android version for my Archos 101 soon! Do you by any chance have any info on that?

  7. Grey Says:

    This looks awesome, but I will not buy an Ipad, maybe an Android if they are available in Germany. So please port it to other platforms, such as android and of course the PC (Windows based).

    Best regards

  8. Off-topic 2: Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP // I N T U I T I V Says:

    […] dupla que desenvolveu outro jogo fantástico, o World of Goo, criou um post em seu site intitulado “Five reasons I love Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP” que descreve exatamente os motivos do jogo em si ser excepcional. Nas palavras deles, o jogo é o […]

  9. Doctorok Says:

    Supers brothers says on their website that it will be forever exclusive to iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

  10. Taiyou Says:

    I’m looking forward to this and WoG on my iPhone…

  11. Juanma Says:

    I have only viewed the trailer but it is obviously a masterpiece. I will buy an ipad just for playing this game haha!