(s)wordsmyth

by Tristan Jacobs

fantasy
2020

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Number of Reviews: 6
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent concept, odd design choices., December 1, 2020

Your character in (s)wordsmyth is a lousy fighter who has been trained to end disputes with words alone. I loved the concept behind this entry, but I was baffled by its design choices.

This is not a story about negotiation and compromise. Instead, you have to outwit mythical creatures that exist solely to hunt and kill humans. Every physical action is described to you by your sword, which made me feel distant from the narrative.

A large black display crowds all this entry’s text into a small window, which made it difficult for me to follow some of the dialogue exchanges — carefully chosen words and skilled writing were already necessary to carry its story, and then extra constraints were imposed on how that writing could be displayed.

A lot of clicking is required to advance between choice points, and there's no ability to save the game. A bloody splash of graphics decorates the (many!) endings that you reach through incorrect choices. Although it's possible to "undo" a bad choice, it rewinds to much earlier in the confrontation and requires you to redo several choices.

There's a fascinating journey at the heart of (s)wordsmyth, and the main character encounters a wide variety of distinct opponents. It would have helped if this story was presented in a way that was less difficult to access.

I especially enjoyed the final confrontation, which was supported by writing that did a better job of indicating which choices were correct. I wish that every encounter had been designed as carefully.