Spellsword ($0.99) by Everplay is as addictive as they come.
There is the story of a sword that is so powerful, it can destroy hordes of minions in a single blow. Of course, like all swords, it needs a hero — of epic proportions. This is where you come in.
The game is split into two game modes: Mission and Endless, and there are three different areas that you will battle in. However, in both modes, you will be controlling our hero and battling the relentless waves of monsters with the use of spellcards.
Mission mode is the one you will want to start out with. At first, only the first world will be available to you. However, as you make your way through the first 20 levels, you will face various objectives, such as surviving until a later wave, destroying a certain amount of enemies, surviving for a set time, or even collecting a specific amount of spellcards. Oh, and prepare to laugh at the humorous dialogue of the hero, especially when he will sport some random shades.
As you complete each mission goal, you will be offered a reward, which can be a new spellcard, new item to equip, or just more rupees. The other two arenas are also unlocked this way (with 20 levels each), so it’s important to do Mission mode and complete the goals.
Endless mode is just that — you’ll have to fight on until you are dead. You will get to play endlessly for the arenas that you’ve unlocked, and you can select from the three difficulty levels: easy, normal, and hard.
Controls are pretty simple, with directional arrows on the bottom left and buttons to attack and jump on the right. While the controls work most of the time, sometimes I had a bit of trouble. It seems that you have to be fairly precise when pressing down on the buttons, and there isn’t much leeway with the pixels around the buttons. Some of my deaths were because my fingers were off just a teensy bit, which I found to be pretty frustrating.
Whenever you collect a spellcard, the card will activate, unleashing a powerful attack or ability, as well as imbuing your sword with the element for a brief period of time. For example, the fire card will unleash a flurry of fireballs that home in on your enemies, while the poison card will poison all enemies on screen (blowing up to smithereens in a few seconds), and there’s even a card that can grant you invincibility for a short while.
The enemies will drop rupees once defeated, and it’s important to collect as much as you can — you do want to equip some useful items, right? The money you obtain will be used to purchase stuff such as spellcard upgrades (more potent effects), helmets, amulets, and rings. I recommend getting the upgrade for more rare rupees to drop from enemies; this way, you will be getting more money quicker to get other upgrades and items.
The more you play, the stronger your character will become. You will gain levels, which mean that your hero will do more damage and be a bigger threat to the enemies.
Game Center is supported for leaderboards and achievements. Of course, the longer you survive, the more points you get, so make sure to climb the charts! There are over 30 achievements to obtain, so you will definitely be coming back for more.
The game features 16-bit graphics that look great on Retina display devices, and even has awesome chiptunes, bringing you back to the days of yore.
I’ve been playing the game for about a week now, and I have got to say — this is my favorite game so far in 2012. I literally played the game for hours since I first downloaded it (and found it very hard to put down), and I find myself picking up my iPhone and going back to it whenever I have a minute. The game starts out slow, but it will quickly pick up and become chaotic.
This game has earned a permanent spot on my iPhone, and I plan to play it for a long time. Hopefully there will be more content in future updates. Personally, I find this game to be more fun than Super Crate Box.
So what are you waiting for? Go grab your copy of Spellsword in the App Store today! You won’t regret it.