Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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A rampaging horde of monsters. A kingdom in peril. A lone warrior who will stand against all odds. Well, not stand so much as jump around and stab monsters a lot.
Goblin Sword is an action platformer set firmly in the medieval fantasy genre. You will control the blue-haired protagonist as he double-jumps and hacks his way through forests, caves, and castles, slaying beasts and collecting gems. The game features a ton of stages, though each level is quite short - you'll easily beat most in under 2 minutes, making them excellent bite-sized servings.
Goblin Sword has a colorful, cartoonishly retro aesthetic, and the music matches the visuals nicely – if you aren’t sick of the pixel revolution in gaming (and you shouldn’t be, because it’s great), you’ll find a lot to love about its look and feel. The controls are fairly tight, and I never felt as though the controls were at fault when I accidentally walked into a spike pit or got hit by an enemy.
That said, I did have some issues with the controls. While there are options for relocating the jump and stab buttons, the jump button's hit box is much larger than the button itself - so much so that I frequently found myself double-jumping in place instead of actually attacking my foes. Aside from just looking silly, this caused me to miss several critically timed jump/slash opportunities, and drove me into the occasional spiked ceiling. Frustrating to be sure, but ultimately not intolerable.
Your most frequent rewards for killing monsters are gems, and Goblin Sword's protagonist can spend his hard-earned currency on new armor, weapons, and magical trinkets. My first purchase was a new sword and, while I didn't notice much of an upgrade in range, the damage increase was dramatic. I also spent a large amount of gold on the best armor available, but still died in three hits, so I'm not certain what the actual benefit was. The entire inventory system is a little bit unclear - swords have star ratings, but sometimes two swords with the same rating don't cost the same, with no explanation as to why. While it is true that getting another sword is as simple as grinding for some more gold, it would still have been nice to have those differences spelled out more clearly.
Despite its odd choices regarding equipment and a decidedly frustrating control layout, Goblin Sword is a perfectly pleasurable platformer. The presence of an upgradable equipment system is a nice inclusion, adding a tiny bit of customization to what could easily have been a much more simplistic game. It isn't particularly deep or complex, but neither does it overstay its welcome, and is a high quality experience throughout.