Anyway, in celebration of the five year anniversary, Apple selected five games to give away for free (five apps, as well), to showcase the growth of the store, as well as the variety of games that they offer, and have for years. They didn't necessarily pick out the most popular or best selling games (sorry, Angry Birds fans), but they did pull out five games that are unique, creative and superbly showcase what mobile gaming is, and can be, all about.
One of those five games is Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP. To be completely honest, I had never heard of this game before ever, so when I downloaded it (free games aren't anything to shrug at kids, especially when you're writing a blog like I am), I went in to it completely blind and unknowing as to what I was about to experience.
When I booted it up, I was prompted to pug in headphones. Right off the bat, I knew this would be more than your average game. It is an adventure game, designed in gorgeous pixel art and utilizing amazing ambient noise and a superb soundtrack. You control your adventurer pointing on the screen where you want him to walk, you double-tap to interact with objects, people or prompts, and you pinch to zoom in and out. Basically, it's your standard mobile game, designed to play without the use of buttons. For console gamers, this is hard barrier to break through, but with practice, it becomes second nature just like any other controller scheme.
The combat in the game is initiated by turning your device, bringing you into a 1-on-1 battle, where two on-screen buttons for attack and defend are used to attempt to conquer your foe. It would have been simple to just add on-screen buttons to the normal game without any flipping, but it's those kinds of small details that usually make certain mobile games stand out in the crowd of junk.
Noises - and to a lesser degree, music - play an important role to the gaming experience, especially when wearing headphones. The noise and music is ambient, subtly immersing you into the universe that you are traveling in. Without jaw-dropping graphics to rely on, the sound becomes that much more important, much like numerous successful NES games figured out back in the day. Sure, you could play this game without paying much attention to the sound, but that would be like eating gourmet cooking with a severe cold - just won't taste the same.
Unfortunately, while there are many aspects to this game I enjoy, I just don't know how much time I can consciously sink in to it. I have it downloaded to my iPad, so I assume I can get back to it while traveling or when other forms of gaming isn't readily available, but I can't justify spending my precious free time with this game, or any other mobile game, when I have other choices.
I just don't see that changing for mobile gaming for me in the near future at all. No matter how cool and awesome the game is.
Unless it's Angry Birds, of course.