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Adam from Switch Indie Fix joins us with a top notch guest review on Switchaboo! Switch Indie Fix is a wonderful source of all things indie on Nintendo Switch and in the past, Adam has been kind enough to host us on his very own podcast (more of that to come). You can check out their content here or can support their Patreon here! So let’s see what Adam thinks of Ratalaika Games’ new action platformer Thy Sword.

Rataliaka Games are well known in the Switch indie space for creating short, cheaper indie games that usually vary in quality. Thy Sword came to the Switch in May and I decided to give the game a go for my Tryin’ Out youtube series. Honestly, I had no idea what the game actually was, a code arrived in my inbox and I thought, why not? I was really happy that I booted the game up and gave it a go as after 30 minutes I was hooked. So, grab thy sword, thy bow and thy joycon as we dive into my Thy Sword Switch review.

Gameplay

Thy Sword is a retro inspired, 2D, action platformer with Hack N’ Slash combat and randomly generated levels and enemies. A bit of a mouthful I know, but all of these genres work surprisingly well together. 

As you enter the level you’ll see a 2D platforming looking screen with enemies wandering around. Once you kill all of the enemies a gate will open and you can move onto the next stage. Each stage slowly gets harder with more and more enemies appearing until you get to the final stage, which is often a ‘night fight’. Here visibility is at a minimum so you have to creep over platforms carefully to not accidentally bump into enemies.

Before you start your epic quest you are able to choose between two heroes. The first is The Barbarian, who is equipped with a broadsword and the second is The Valkyrie, who is equipped with a sword and bow. I preferred The Valkyrie as I found her bow useful to snipe enemies from across the level. Because of its arcade influence, the controls for the game are very simple. Your basic sword thrust is swung by pressing the R bumper, you move with the joystick or the D-Pad, block with the L bumper, fire your bow with A and have a very fancy special move that you can use by pressing X.

The gameplay is challenging in an old school way. Tanky controls and swarming enemies will whittel you down if you barge in head first. However, take some time to learn enemy patterns and put in a bit of practice and the game soon becomes straight forward. The challenge then mostly lies in the random role of enemy spawns and what mode you are playing.

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There are two modes in the game that affect what happens when you die. I was playing on Apprentice Mode, so when I died I would be reset to the start of the level I was playing and all enemies and stages would be rerolled. Apprentice Mode makes for quicker runs in the game and is the preferred mode for new players. As a bonus, you also get to keep any items you buy in the game. On the other hand, Adventurer Mode gives you a set number of lives and when you die, you have to start the game again from the beginning. Adventurer Mode gives the game a much more arcady feeling. Like when you die you have to put another 50p into the machine to try again. It’s nice to have the option to choose which mode you’d like to play, and it offers some replay value to the game if you beat the Apprentice Mode.

Story / Personality

The premise of the story is very 1980’s arcade cabinet. You are in a fantasy world and an evil Wizard (?) has cursed the land, and it is your job to stop him. To do this, you have to travel through the varied countryside and collect five chaos-gem-like crystals by beating five extremely high-fantasy bosses. Boss fights were fun but not challenging at all. They felt more like a foregone conclusion when you fought them and a respite between the levels.

Graphics / Art Direction

As well as having an arcady feel, Thy Sword also looks like an old 8-bit arcade game. This was my main issue with the game- I really didn’t like how it looked. I think developers Game Phase were focused on the mechanics of the game and not the art style, which is fair enough. Nevertheless, art is always what draws me to a game and in my opinionI Thy Sword’s art style looks too busy. There’s too many pixels with too much colour, making everything in the game seem to blur together. This was mostly evident with the game’s text as it uses a cluttered fantasy font and is made of orangey, yellow-brown letters that blend into the background of the levels. It almost felt like I was watching a video on youtube at 360p. I could just about tell what everything in the game was, but would have to squint. However, if you are not too fussed with a game’s art style, this issue might not be a problem.

Music / Sound Design

The background track was what you’d expect from an indie game like this. Again, it felt ‘retro’ and added to the whole arcade theme of the game. I found it both functional and enjoyable but nothing really stood out as extraordinary to me.

Final Score: 63%

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Thy Sword. Any of you that follow my content will know that I love roguelites. Therefore, the randomness of enemies and stages appealed to me as it kept the game interesting and added an extra challenge as you could not learn where enemies were in a level.  

Should you buy the game? Well. . . it depends. If you are a huge retro gamer and want a game that feels like an arcade game, then go for it. The game at full price costs $9.99 and I personally think it is worth that amount. The combat is fun and challenging but not brutal. It’s a perfect game to sit down on the couch with and beat in an afternoon. The art style wasn’t to my taste as the pixel art felt cluttered and busy, but your mileage may vary. If you are the type of person that likes to get tons of gameplay from their hard earned dollars, then maybe wait until the game goes on sale. The mechanics are solid but simple and like most Ratlaika Games, it is relatively short.

Thank you for checking out Adam’s Thy Sword switch review, thank you to Ratalaika Games for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:

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Posted by Adam