Version Reviewed: 1.1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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Combining a board game with an RPG has been done before in the guise of so many convoluted board games, so it makes quite a bit of sense to do this through an iPhone game. Enter Sword & Dice which tries its absolute hardest to be part board game/part RPG. It does partly succeed but it feels in need of a few additions such as different difficulty levels and a fast forward button.
Starting out, you choose from four different characters and three different weapon types, all with their own advantages and disadvantages. I didn't notice a huge amount of difference between each character but presumably it is there. You're then transferred to a board game style interface whereby you have to shake your iOS device to roll the dice.
Action is then interspersed by real time battles after every move. The battles are quite originally done. You can just tap the screen to inflict a regular attack or you can use gesture based attacks in order to inflict extra damage. These range from the simple I movement to a Z shape swish of your finger. Fighting is a bit frustrating though after the initial, easy enemies. Jumping over ranged attacks while still getting near enough to the foe is particularly infuriating as the controls don't feel as tight as they should be.
It's an interesting concept though; it just feels like Sword & Dice is trying too hard to be everything when really it should just focus on one thing. The RPG elements are too simplistic to be compelling - there is a levelling up system but it never feels like it changes much; it's a similar case with the various shops dotted around. The board game side of things plays out exactly how you'd expect, but it's annoying that if you're knocked out, you get sent right back to the beginning. It drags out the game a little bit too much.
There's a lot of negatives here but Sword & Dice does have its merits. It is intriguing and the gesture combat system is particularly fun to use. I just wish there was more to it. Being able to speed up action or play with other human players would have been great. As it stands though, Sword & Dice isn't bad for the price but it could have been better.