Silversword review (iOS / Universal)

June 4, 2012

“On the path along whose way
You have shaped your truth… The Silver Sword”

10 word description: Fantasy RPG. 11 classes. 100 unique monsters. Universal. Game Center.

10 word review: Deep, challenging turn-based RPG. Screen layout is rather … interesting.

You will like this if you enjoy: Party based RPGs (party of 7 in this case) with deep, engrossing and enjoyably time consuming gameplay.

The good news: It’s a great example of a modern yet old school RPG on your iOS device. All the stat rolling and fully customisable party builds that any turn-based RPG fan could want. Lots of different monsters, all with their own hand drawn portrait. iCloud save system actually works! Plenty of locations, spells, items, etc. Decent automap and quest log. Some very amusing fight commentary text. The in-game manual is very good. If you fancy having a read before buying the game, it’s here: Silversword Manual (pdf).

The bad news: Some of the UI navigation seems to have more steps than necessary, for example accessing the inventory and anything involving merchants. There’s no compass, so you’re continually opening the automap to see which direction you’re heading. Other minor issues, but my major gripe is with the way the whole bottom third of the screen is used up for the names and stats of the party members. Seriously, 99% of the time, all I need to know is their remaining HP and SP. The movable direction controls are good, but there’s nowhere perfect to put them on the screen, as they will always be obscuring or conflicting with another interactive area of the screen if you put them where they seem most logical/comfortable. I’d shift the columns of permanently visible character stats closer together and leave a nice, obvious, default space for the directional controls. The interface feels a bit cramped on the smaller (iPhone / iPod) screen.  The picture accompanying character creation is awful.

Arcadelife verdict: If you buy this game, chances are that you will already love the genre and that’s why you bought it. In this case, I think you’re probably going to really enjoy Silversword because of what it is and how it will remind you of some of the classics from the past.

I’m playing it when I’m not playing Diablo 3 and it’s interesting to see how diverse games under the “RPG” banner can be. There’s a nice little cheat, for those given to such devious means of lasting more than 5 minutes in the world of Silversword, where you can create loads of unwanted characters and pool all their starter gold onto another character. You can do that at any time, not just the beginning of the game, but don’t do it kids because you’re only cheating yourselves.

If you’re after instant, frantic action and a minimum of fussing around in an interface, go and find something else. However, those of you searching for a new game in the classic turn-based RPG genre will (hopefully) thank me for recommending this one. Here’s another tip for anyone wanting a slightly easier experience – keep re-rolling initial stats until you have your front line (4 melee fighters) with ST, DX and CN all as close to 18 as possible. You will hit harder, miss less often, and gain more HP each time you level up.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 7/10
Audio – 7.5/10
Controls – 8/10
Content – 9.5/10
Fun – 8/10
Final rating – 80/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 2.1.2 (and mostly 2.1.1)
iTunes link

Silversword website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 5.1.1)
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)

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