Confused? Excellent, keep calm and carry on.
The long awaited BELOW may be an Xbox/PC exclusive, but developer Capy Games haven’t left us in the cold on the Switch, bringing their indie darling Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP to the platform. Not only is it as good as I remember, but the port fits the hardware perfectly with its multifaceted control scheme.
A tale of a warrior on a mission of martyrdom to release an evil spirit, Superbrothers is a game that will have you weaving in and out of dreams, creating time paradoxes and exploring the forest in a largely relaxing and intriguing journey. Splitting its short story into ‘sessions’ by giving you natural entry and exit points, it’s a relatively simple point-and-click that consists of screen to screen gameplay, walking through beautiful pixel art dreamscapes and interacting musically with the environments to solve puzzles.
Rhythmic swordplay segments (in keeping with the game’s theme) and the fear of the impending spectre build up tension, but the game is ultimately a relaxing, engaging journey through a fantastical forest. Incredible pixel art visuals manage to stay extremely stylised, and yet the landmarks of the environment feel realistic, rich in colour and full of creatures and plants that react to the warrior’s abilities. Definitely screenshot worthy.
SuperBrothers feels bespoke and purposely built for every platform it graces, and Capy must be commended for its varied, amalgamating control scheme, that makes use of every single way to play on Nintendo Switch. Not only does it carry over the responsive, pinch-to-zoom touch controls from its iOS original version using the Switch’s capacitive screen, but there’s controller support for those who want to see its beauty on the big screen, and even pointer support, allowing you to play with a single Joy-Con.
Coming to console for the first time, the Switch port of S:S&SEP really does take its PC and mobile counterparts and blends them into a sleek, synergistic formula that makes it feel again like a tailored experience.
Described as “a prog rock concept you can hang out in”, it’s hard to understate the importance of Jim Guthrie’s soundtrack in making Sword and Sworcery what it is.
An entrancing, magical album that accompanies beautiful in-game leitmotifs and realistic sound effects – such as flowing water that shifts in stereo as you walk across a bridge, or raging weather that shakes the trees as you explore the forest – it works in tandem with the unique art style to completely envelop you in the world for its duration. It’s also one of those soundtracks that transcends the game itself, as I’ve spent many a night listening to Jim’s music whilst studying or writing.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is a game that revolves thematically around music, and the gameplay, visuals and soundtrack blend together perfectly in their own ‘Trifecta’, not unlike the one in the game itself. If you haven’t played it before, I recommend it with headphones in and lights turned out.
Whilst BELOW is a perilous, tense, and dangerous descent into the unknown, Superbrothers is the perfect counterpart for relaxation and pondering on your handheld, or simply the perfect entry point into Capy’s games if you don’t have access to a Microsoft platform. Not only does it hold up, but it’s the best version of this indie gem.