When I first heard about Sword ‘N’ Board I initially wasn’t sure—while Zelda is absolutely my favorite game franchise of all time, I’ve never been able to get into the original. So when I saw that this was a Zelda-esque top down adventure Kickstarter game I was a little worried. But my concerns vanished the second I saw what the game was about and the world it was set in. Because basically, it was a game about my brother.
I have a little brother who is thirteen years younger than me. He LOVES video games but he hasn’t let that impede his creativity. When he was three or four he watched my sister and I play Ocarina of Time and he became obsessed to the point that, whenever he met a new person, he would insist they call him “Link” rather than his real name. He then began making armor, shields, and swords out of paper and tape (he has now graduated to cardboard, paper, and tape). He makes so many costumes for so many different characters that these days one of his yearly Christimas gifts is a roll of tape since he runs out of it so quickly.
Long story short, this game’s concept touched me on an emotional level (which, I would argue, all good games should) and I knew I wanted to review it.
Sword ‘N’ Board gets much of its charm from the main character, Sidd, who is on a quest to acquire the scattered pieces of his video game console. To do so he embarks on an epic adventure which is rooted in his own imagination. As Sidd you must travel through the great unknown (AKA his backyard) and combat many an imaginary foe. As you explore you will come across cardboard forests, pillow fort dungeons, and challenging puzzles.
I gave the demo a try and here were my thoughts:
Map: There wasn’t one. And you know what? It was…refreshing! Instead of being hand fed where to go and what to do the game encourages and rewards you for exploration. What’s more, you actually have to rely on MEMORY to figure out where you need to return to in order to use the key you just found. I hadn’t realized how accustomed I’d come to having a map with me until I played this game and had to live without.
Music: I absolutely adore the music. I mean, I want it for my video game soundtrack collection… (Luckily if you pledge $15 or more you GET the soundtrack. Yay!) (Also, it seems to be a trend with these Kickstarters that I LOVE their music…)
Health: In Sword ‘n’ Board you don’t have cutesy little hearts for health. Instead, your health is measured in cardboard shields. To replenish it you “repair” your shield by finding or purchasing rolls of duct tape. I don’t know, perhaps I’m easily amused, but it got a chuckle out of me!
Humor: At one point you come across a sign which reads:
“Read me, I’m a sign, that’s literally the only thing I’m here for, to read.
If you don’t read me…
Well…I’ll just stand here…”
Upon getting close enough to read it it says,
“Pillow Dungeon #1
(I’m a sign…that’s all I got)”
While I don’t know if the first message will permanently be there or not in the final version (though I hope it will be), it had both me and my boyfriend laughing.
Puzzles: I honestly didn’t come across any puzzles in the demo, nor did I find any weapons other than bombs. However, the game’s creator has explained on the Kickstarter website that he has a super customizable weapon system which allows for 40 different weapon combos. I am very interested to see how this will turn out as it looks quite a bit different from what we’re used to in this genre.
Appearance: The artwork was great. It was simple and somewhat cartoonish but I loved it. It fit so well for a world that’s only partly real. Sidd is hiliarious. I love his costume and it reminds me SOOOO much of my little bro.
Overall I am REALLY excited for this game, particularly for my brother to give it a go someday! It’s clever, funny, and gets to the heart of what video games used to be while simultaneously looking back at a time when a child’s imagination was his or her best friend. Having worked in game development before at Big Fish Games and Hashbang Games, the creator behind Sword ‘N’ Board has the know how to make this a success. Now it’s up to us, the fans, to make his dream a reality. Check out the Kickstarter here and, as always if you can, please donate and if not, definitely put it on your watch list if it looks like something you would enjoy. The Kickstarter site also has a demo available so definitely give that a go!
There’re only seventeen days left so pass this around to all of your friends: let’s get this funded!
Creator: Robert Busey