Heavy Sword review (iOS / Universal)

April 19, 2013

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10 word description: Retro style coin-collecting, monster-bashing platformer. With a sword.

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10 word review: Pure platforming joy with some irritating technical issues to overcome.

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You will like this if you enjoy: The idea of a Super Mario style platform game with upgradeable melee weapons.

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The good news: Gameplay, graphics, level design, enemies, weapons and power-ups. All of those elements are individually very good and packaged together as a strikingly entertaining and enjoyable game. Controls are ok, but the behaviour of the direction buttons could be improved. The shop (no IAPs) adds a depth and purpose to the coin collecting. There are only a few upgrades to buy but they are useful and worth saving up for. Mini games and secret areas are the icing on a very enjoyable platform gaming cake.

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The bad news: Left/Right buttons don’t allow for sliding your finger from one button to the other. For example, if you press the left button, then slide onto the right button, your character keeps moving left until you take your finger off the right button and press it again. It takes some getting used to and is an unnecessary distraction. I played this game on 4th gen iPod Touch, 1st gen iPad and 4th gen iPad. On the latest iPad, it runs perfectly and has not crashed in several hours of gameplay but on the earlier devices it is  generally sluggish with slow load times and frequent random crashes.

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Arcadelife verdict: I gave up trying to play this on my 4th gen iPod Touch because the frequent crashes were too annoying to make me want to persevere. Same story on the 1st gen iPad. However, on a 4th gen iPad, Heavy Sword is a genuinely joyful game, even with its less than intuitive directional buttons. It’s not original by any means, even with its engaging Mario with a sword theme, but it has all the charm and playability of the games it pays homage to, plus some topical genre additions of its own, which is no small achievement.

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Ultimately, I can only recommend this on recent devices due to the instability and poor performance on my 4th gen Touch and 1st gen iPad. Otherwise, if you’re a fan of Mario style platform games – and you have a device that can run this without frequently crashing – I can’t think of any reason not to get this one.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 7/10
Visuals – 8.5/10
Controls – 6/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 9.5/10
Final rating – 8/10


Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 0.0.1
iTunes link

Heavy Sword on Facebook – website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.0.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 6.0.1)
1st gen iPad.

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