Game

Retro-inspired, light-RPG platformer Goblin Sword is far from inspired, but there may be enough for platform fans

Goblin Sword is a formulaic but nonetheless decent platformer, presented within a mythical world full of bipedal lizards, snakes, a seemingly lost member of the three little pigs, ghosts, and more animals, and while it looks great thanks to its vintage pixel-approach, gameplay isn’t always riveting.

In the game, you control a small blue-haired character, with an absolutely dashing cape. He can run, jump, and jump even higher, and slay various beasts with his little sword. The reason he’s so angry and stabby, is because his hometown has been invaded my monsters, and he has to pillage and fight himself through the town in order to face the Evil Wizard™ which had caused the whole ruckus in the first place.

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Guess we should keep an eye out for that key then…

There’s plenty of variety in the game and the story stands up about as much as any other platformer, it’s more the repetitive levels, and occasionally heavy controls that makes it occasionally an ordeal. There are moments where you hope to ramp up the excitement, such as when you gain enough coins to buy new weaponry, or armor, or you reach a new set of levels with a different look and you feel ready to take on the world. But then after awhile, as new enemies become yet harder to kill, your new weaponry is rendered largely redundant.

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This guy is just the worst.

It must be noted, that Goblin Sword doesn’t believe in checkpoints. You’re given you three lives per level, and while you can 1-up in various places, it’s few and far between. Once you lose your three lives, you’re back to the start of the level. The problem is, the gameplay is far from speedy, and is occasionally clunky. Steadily making your way through levels, well, there’s some satisfaction in that – but having to laboriously jump over the same blocks, defeat the same enemies, and collect the same crystals, again and again just because there’s always that damn pig with the hankerchief on a stick and no discernible weapon, that still manages to hurt you. Well, that’s something we don’t want to do over and over again.

Secret passages

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We bought a protective, er, lion’s head.

The surprises and inconsistencies of secret passages can be trying, too. Often you’ll see a secret tunnel but decide that maybe you’ll finish exploring the rest of this bit first, because you’ve been burned before and were unable to get back and missed all the exciting crystals, and you really didn’t want to have to start the level again to find them. But then you find out that the gap in the ground that you go down that would traditionally take you to a lower area of the level, is suddenly just a hole and going down it will kill you, and you wonder why the game is suddenly going against the previous rules it set for itself over numerous levels previously.

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Sometimes new obstacles will come along which seem a little out of place with the rest of the game…

Sometimes it feels like the developers remember what platform games were like, and replicated from memory, rather than actually playing them and realizing all the things that can make a game hugely annoying and frustrating. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad game – the light RPG elements that drive the story and allow you to put a little more into the platform elements make it an entirely playable game, and if you’re a big platform or retro game fan, there’ll probably be something in there for you.

Price: $0.99 / £0.69
Developer: Eleftherios Christodoulatos
Size: 12.5 MB
Version: 1.0
Platform: iOS Universal

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Goblin Sword review: Lacks inspiration, but no bad effort
Lacks inspiration, but it's not a terrible effort, and could be improved with a few tweaks
For
  • Looks great
  • Provides an ample challenge
Against
  • Repetitive
  • Inconsistent approach in places
3.5Overall Score