Version Reviewed: 1.0.4
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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I often look forward to seeing larger games released for iOS, both because I wish more people would take the platform seriously (as they should) and because being able to play something like Knights of the Old Republic on my phone is just really, really cool. But That doesn’t mean that shorter, more bite-sized games can’t also shine. And Sword of Xolan is definitely a tiny shiner. That sounded a lot better in my head.
Sword of Xolan follows a similar structure to other mobile platformers from developers like Ravenous Games. It’s broken up into two different modes - Adventure and Challenge - with the former itself being broken up into three acts. And each act is made up of several platforming levels and a final boss fight. You can simply blitz through everything in a rush to the end, but stages are really meant to be replayed.
Each level has three captured people to find and rescue, along with a treasure chest. This means that completionists are going to be going back a few times in order to find everything, but there’s another reason to replay sections you’ve already beaten: money. The coins you find scattered around or that pop up after defeating monsters can be used to purchase permanent character upgrades in the form of special cards. It’s a simple system, but it does impart a sense of progression that’s much appreciated.
Control-wise, Sword of Xolan also takes inspiration from popular iOS platformers in that the controls are nice and responsive. Swiping down to drop through a platform doesn’t always register right away but that’s a pretty minor issue all things considered. Everything else feels great.
Sword of Xolan might not be an 80-hour epic, but it’s a fantastic piece of short but sweet entertainment.