REVIEW: THUNDERSWORD ACROSS THE SKY FOR iPAD

Another offering from MEDL Mobile, Thundersword Across the Sky will have you soaring through the sky with the one Viking sword that avoids violence. A quirky little game, Thundersword is brought to you by the same people to deliver Boxhead- The Zombie Wars and Fruit Blast. While all the MEDL Mobiles games I’ve played have been reasonably priced, Thundersword delivers on the best price yet- FREE.

Loosely based on the Viking hero Ragnar, Thundersword begins with the hero hurling his sword into the sky. In this game, you get to play the sword! Avoid obstacles, collect gems and sail onward and upward.

Game Mechanics

Ragnar was an ancient Viking hero and king as renowned for his pillaging as for his womanizing. He claimed to be the son of the Norse god Odin. The game begins with a simple animation of the Viking launching his sword into the air placing the player in control of his mighty sword.

While there isn’t any distinction between the iPad and iPhone version of this game in the App Store, there is a notable difference in gameplay. In the iPad version, the player uses their finger on the touch screen to move Ragnar’s sword through the air. The iPhone version, however, has the player tilt the device to direct the sword. It is important to note that this review is based on the iPad version of the game.

Once in the air, the player must guide the sword through the air while collecting gems and avoiding everything else. The goal is to stay in the air as long as possible, racking up points along the way. There are three different gems, all of which boost the sword’s speed and send it higher into the air. These gems are the players lifeline, fail to collect enough gems and eventually the sword looses speed and crashes.

The player must in turn avoid a wide range of obstructions. These various obstacles range from little birds, to flying tiki-gods, along with ground dwelling polar bears and scorpions. Crashing into any of the obstacles will cause them to explode, but will also slow the sword’s speed.

The player moves Ragnar’s sword with their finger around the screen in a manner slightly unintuitive to the average iPad user. Most iPad users are accustomed to “flicking” or quickly and lightly touching the screen in a single motion to move about. In Thundersword the player must keep their finger firmly placed on the screen without lifting to move the sword. Overall, it seems the sword could be more responsive to the finger’s movements.

Game Mechanics        Score   3 / 5

Ambience

Thundersword’s title screen presents a retro 8-bit design style. While the game itself plays above 8-bit, the design style holds through the entire game without becoming pretentious or overbearing.

One of the more pleasing aspects of this game is its soundtrack. Although not necessarily the deepest, the sound cycle for Thundersword is befitting a Viking hero, worthy of inspiring Thor into battle. Imagine a 80s Viking hair band that only knows a few rifts so they keep playing them over and over again. At some points the music makes the crashing into obstacles more fun than avoiding them.

There are a handful of different worlds for the sword to sail through. Each world contains different obstacles. The obstacles are artistic and quirky, and they are all animated in some way. Their appearance on screen and those of the gems as well, are random so if the player crashes they will not have to soar through the same field every time.

Thundersword Across the Sky is colorful and amusing in its own way. It is easy to tell that the design artists enjoyed their work on this game. Together, the music and graphics brings the player as close as they can to feeling like a real sword sailing through the sky.

Ambience                    Score   3 / 5

Fun Factor

Thundersword Across the Sky supports connectivity to the Game Center allowing players to unlock Achievements and compare their scores on the Leaderboard. There are eighteen different Achievements for the player to tackle ranging from visiting all the different worlds, to collecting two-hundred or more gems. Overall the Achievements are time consuming, but not impossible.

While Thundersword possesses that addictive pickup-and-play quality that is the hallmark of the App-Game, after a while the gameplay grows flat. The move-and-avoid theme is not anything new or inventive and has been the feature of many titles before this one.

Unfortunately, where Thundersword truly suffers is in its conceptualization. The game references the Viking hero Ragnar and his sword, yet the process of the game is to avoid blowing through obstacles. The player embodies a Viking sword and then must runaway from rainbows and storm clouds. There is a point when quirky and endearing cross over into absurdly unfulfilling. “I am Viking sword. Let me smash!”

Fun Factor                  Score 2 / 5

Guidance

The app does not come with any sort of in-game help or tutorial. While the game’s concept is not difficult to grasp, the finer points could use some explanation. During the first play through it became obvious that the gems increased the sword’s speed and that crashing into the obstacles decreased it. Yet, it was not completely evident whether crashing into things increased the player’s score, decreased it, or (in truth) had no effect at all. In the end, the most beneficial directions were found by thoroughly reading through the game’s description on its App Store page.

Guidance                     Score   2 / 5

 

Final Thoughts

The first couple of times I tried to play Thundersword Across the Sky, the app froze while loading. After deleting the app and reinstalling, the problem was solved. According to player reviews in the App Store, this does not seem to be a common problem. I only mention this issue now incase others encounter the problem, but decided it was not a large enough problem to factor it into the game’s final score.

Thundersword is colorful and functions appropriately, but the gameplay is not anything special. In one form or another, Thundersword’s basic gameplay has been around for some time. Routine gameplay, combined with the most cowardly Viking weapon ever forged, lends to a game that feels awkward at best.

It’s eccentric, mildly addictive, but most of all it’s free.

Final                            Score 2.5 / 5

Written by Andrew

GD Star Rating
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