Version Reviewed: 1.01
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 4
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While there has been at least one attempt to add RPG elements to the Super Crate Box formula before, Everplay and Fire Fruit Forge's new game Spellsword might be the best in this small category of hybrids yet. The game takes place in an arena where the player has a sword and must fell off enemies for as long as possible. This game's constantly-spawning item are magical cards. These cards have both an immediate effect, such as shooting out fireballs or poisoning all enemies on screen, as well as a passive effect such as slowing down enemies. Enemies killed drop rupees, which can be spent on upgrades.
There are two game modes: Mission mode, where a goal must be met, such as killing x number of enemies, or collecting y number of cards, or lasting z number of seconds. Then there's Endless mode, which just lasts as long as the player stays alive.
Spellsword nails the Super Crate Box and RPG hybrid much better than Muffin Knight did, thanks to the fact that the cards always have a useful purpose, and the timer to when the card runs out is a great motivator to go get the next one. The upgrades provide advantages like improved card effects, additional health, modified card drops, and sweet hats. Shockingly, there's no way to buy rupees in the game as of launch. The game's three levels have different environmental effects, such as giant spiked balls that can hurt enemies, which are just fun to watch swing around and kill everything.
There is no iCloud syncing to be had, which is one of the few disappointments with the game. As well, there's no settings menu to be had, which would be useful for those who want to disable sound, or want to erase all data. It just feels like something is missing by not having it there at all. The game isn't necessarily as pure in gameplay as Super Crate Box was, but that may just be a tradeoff when a game has an external progression mechanic like the RPG elements in this one.
Still, this game gets a lot right. The RPG elements are light enough that they aren't overwhelming, yet compelling enough to be engaging. It's a definite must-play for fans of action-RPGs, and for those looking for a twist on the Super Crate Box formula.