Developed by Gamephase and published by Gamephase and Ratalaika, Thy Sword is a single screen platformer dripping with nostalgia. Graphically this looks like it belongs on an older platform; considering the credits use the phrase “Long live the Amiga” I assume they were aiming around the early Amiga generation. The sound effects and background music also fit into the retro style nicely as they take you back to that era.
There is a brief story that is kept as cliché as possible; the land was at peace until an evil came and destroyed the white crystal and brought chaos. Now it’s up to a few heroes to gather the fragments that make up the white crystal and rid the land of evil. You get to play as either the Barbarian or The Valkyrie, each have a starting perk. You can also play as a Paladin if you rescue him, I think… but it didn’t seem to work for me as I couldn’t select him when starting a new game. The Barbarian starts with a broadsword which does more damage and the Valkyrie starts with a longbow, to allow for ranged attacks.
The gameplay itself is simple but executed very well, making it quite enjoyable. As with all platform games there is some jumping challenges, but nothing tricky here. Most of the challenge is how you tackle the enemies. It pays to be cautious and precise; doing so can see you skate past most levels unharmed.
There are a variety of enemies which keeps things interesting and there is a method of tackling each of them. You can try rushing in and taking them head-on, but you run the risk of being poisoned, hit by arrows or other projectiles, or just being overwhelmed. You have a special attack which involves an articulate move where if you connect with an enemy you can lop their head off, which is an instant kill. Some enemies can only be killed this way so it’s wise to master, plus its super fun to do. Most enemies take more than one hit, so it sometimes works in your favour to do this move. If you attack an enemy from the platform below, they will jump down to the lower platform. If you can get them on the bottom floor, then you have plenty of space to pull off the special move. The special move can be done in mid-air and on a platform but if you miss it will leave you vulnerable to attack.
Each point on the map has about 4-5 stages and the enemies you take out on these levels drop currency for you to collect. Some of the stages have bosses to tackle which differ in difficulty, but they all have a fairly simple pattern to them. The money you collect you can put to use at the camp. You can buy items which improve your power like a better sword or bow, items which do things like protecting you against poison, light up darker levels or even gain you an extra hit point. Some of these come at a high cost, so they give you a chance to make some extra money by gambling at a game of 21. Depending on your luck or tactics you could gain enough money to buy those more expensive items.
Thy Sword is quite short, but there are some measures to extend the life span, such as being able to play with a friend which is a nice touch. The game also has a duelling option where you can fight each other, with spread out levels containing power-ups. There are also different difficulty levels which are based on limiting the number of continues you have, or not giving you a continue at all to play it in a true arcade fashion.
Thy Sword is in every sense a simple a retro platformer. It has many nods to the past and has fine-tuned the experience to make the game fairly challenging. The controls are slick and pulling off a special move to finish an enemy is a joy. However, the game is fairly short and could be completed in 1 or 2 sittings. This is a fun game for those looking for a quick platformer to conquer.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.