I couldn’t help but check out the unique overhead adventure game Sword ‘N’ Board. This passion project, created by Stuffed Castle Studios, has you follow the adventures of Sidd on a quest to find his video game console. This game takes inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and has you exploring the partially imaginary world of Sidd’s backyard.
Now for anyone familiar with A Link to the Past, you’ll soon notice that many of the core aspects of the game are present in this game. You’ll typically fight with two weapons and a shield. Unlike A Link to the Past, however, you can use many different weapon combinations, such as an ax and a bomb, or slingshot and an ax.
Many weapons, when paired up properly, can create new effects such as the ability to jump over fences and ledges when you use the sword and the bomb together, or firing axes when you combine the ax and the slingshot. Understanding these combinations are of vital importance to being able to clear the many puzzles and traps that litter the dungeons in this game.
These dungeons and the enemies within are all a part of his imagination and as such they don’t necessarily look like the rest of the game. While the general feel of the game is smooth and well designed, the enemies and many of the special effects-like a bomb blowing up-are pixelated to symbolize the fact that it’s all in Sidd’s head. NPC’s that you’ll interact with are made out of cardboard. For a game made to look like a child’s pretending to play a video game outside the house, it’s absolutely adorable.
Enemies can range from squirming maggots called maggos to jumping feces that breaks apart to make smaller, more formidable turds. From what I saw in the demo, there were only a few enemies so far, but the inventiveness of the developers and their willingness to follow their own rules makes this game far more interesting than a cheap knockoff of a great game.
Aside from an inventive theme that plays on the mind of a child, the enemies will often drop supplies needed to craft better equipment. These are typical arts and crafts pieces that can help enhance his armor. If you take these pieces of cardboard, tubes of superglue, or even copper screws to the blacksmith you can build onto your stats or improve your items.
Cardboard can also be used to create a better shield or stronger defenses, or you could use it to fix your shields (which act as your hearts in this game). Some items will only drop when you’ve acquired a certain level of luck, while focusing on building your stamina will increase the speed at which you run, move, and even let you carry more items.
Though this game was designed to showcase the inventiveness of a child’s imagination, this game isn’t lacking in difficulty. At the start of the game you will only start with 2 shields and the only way to heal yourself is to utilize the dropped cardboard which you could use to give you more shields.
It’s a complex battle of keeping your health up, managing your supplies, and making sure that you have enough supplies by the time you get to the blacksmith. This game also features tons of secret bomb-able walls with absolutely no cracks to show where they could be. You’ll have to use your wits to find all this game has to offer.
Overall I thought this game was adorable from its concept to implementation, to the fact that this little kid wants to play such a hard game. While this game is still in early access, I feel that it has wonderful potential.
If you want a challenging game inspired by A Link to the Past then I would definitely recommend you checking out Sword ‘N’ Board over on Steam Early Access. Personally though, I’ll wait until the full game is released.