I love a game that takes a standard genre and puts a unique spin on it. And while the gameplay fares little different from other action RPGs what Sword ‘N’ Board brings to the table is a healthy dose of imagination; which is why I backed it. Not just because of the Zelda-like elements but because it’s about a kid playing pretend out in his neighborhood. Honestly, who hasn’t loved playing make believe when they were younger?
So, in Sword ‘N’ Board you play as a quite creative youngster named Sid. All you have is your taped up cardboard sword and shield to help you take on various monsters in your imagination. While far from finished, Robert Busey has recently given out Steam codes to backers who’ve paid to get early access. Obviously, I’m one of them and I decided to give what is there a spin. It’s not much but what is there had me wanting to play for far longer than I did. Which is saying something when all you can do is kill things and craft items from parts dropped by the enemy.
In the current small build, you have a few items already in your inventory in addition to your starting equipment. Namely an axe, bomb, slingshot, and bubble shield (my favorite). Based on the silhouettes in the inventory screen there will be six more usable items that you can earn. I personally almost exclusively used the axe/sword to attack and the bubble shield as a defense. I like to get up close and personal to my quarry and be able to take hits as well as dish them out.
Thankfully, this build in Sword ‘N’ Board lets you continue right where you left off when you die. I’m not sure if this is just for testing purposes or if it’ll be part of the full game, but it certainly saves in having to grind ingredients for the forge. Which I’ll get to in a moment. Right now the only monster to fight is a pumpkin, but there will be plenty of others to kill. However, the combat in the game is simple. Use the “O” or “P” key to use your items that you have bound to them.
The real star of this build, though, is the crafting system. Pick up the items dropped, go to the forge, and see what you can create. None of these crafted items are usable in and of themselves, but they’re very import in leveling up your stats. You see, each stat needs to be “forged” in order to level up. You can see what ingredients are required under each one. I ended up getting pretty high in attack and a little in defense but there’s a lot of items and a lot of stats. Honestly, I could spend hours just seeing how high I could get my abilities.
That’s all that this build of Sword ‘N’ Board offers, but it’s enough to get a feel for the rest of the game. It’s a very limited slice of the experience, but even just this little bit is pretty addictive and I can’t wait to see it more polished. And, frankly, it’s leaps and bounds better than the demo released during the campaign. The art is a major improvement and the controls seem to be smoother. If this little bit is any indication I think we’ll have a memorable experience on our hands once it’s complete.