Switch version tested
Review code provided
Our good friends at Ratalaika games present Thy Sword by GamePhase. This bit style rogue adventure feels like a modern NES game but with procedurally generated levels. It has multiple characters and difficulties making the dungeons and dragons game approachable for all. Pop some quarters in and let’s dig in.
For those scared of the action, you can opt for the archer and short sword combo. Arrows are not infinite and will need to be purchased or picked up from enemies. I tried the archer but it was not long until I restarted my adventure with the barbarian. I typically enjoy the tank more anyway, and the long sword should prove helpful for larger enemies. The immediate switch I did not feel too much of a difference between the swords but I’m sure it would show at some point.
To be honest, at first I began on the highest difficulty which means one hit kill and you’re out of quarters but that did not last long. I didn’t realise there were so many levels and possible routes to take. After each death, a small coin insert animation is shown that looks so retro and awesome. I swapped to the infinite adventure once I lost to the first boss, after all this is the modern type of NES style games. My first thought is that the game feels good. Controls are responsive and I don’t think there are any improvements required. Button mapping can be adjusted which I chose to change. Block, special, jump, sword, and bow are the controls and they can be adjusted for both players. Did I mention you could add a second player to this action? How cool is that? Jumping from one platform to another, to an immediate block on either side will work as long as you time it correctly. You cannot blame controls for your mistakes, they are too responsive for that. If you need to block on the left or right side, simply move the joystick and you will pivot to the other side.
As previously mentioned we are in the NES era so the graphics have a bit style look which is fantastic in handheld mode but looks a bit incomplete in docked mode. Once I beat the game the developers praise the Amiga which I am unfamiliar with but that seems to be more of their reference for the looks and feel. The music was made with Amiga tools and it sounds great! It adds to the DnD feel and moves the game along nicely. Regardless I think those older and younger can enjoy Thy Sword because I’ve had so much fun with it. I unlocked a new character on the first playthrough and am enjoying the new journey with said person.
Each area consists of a handful or more levels that require the player to defeat all enemies to continue. Little surprises pop on occasion that adds layers of fun to the already satisfying gameplay. Once in a while, a thief will come along to steal your coin but you can steal theirs if you kill them. A maiden may find herself tied to a burning stake with a timer above her head, calling for the player to kill every enemy to free her but I have been unsuccessful. To help fatten your coin pouch, a crow may be flapping about with a key that will unlock a treasure chest full of gems and coins. These prove very useful for saving up for that flame sword. I love these random encounters and for all I know, maybe there will be more or different per character?
Thy Sword is all about balance, if you choose the broad sword character you will need to save your coin for a bow. Without the bow, each arrow collected will turn to coin instead which is fantastic. The archer has a distance advantage to hurt enemies but you must be on the same plane or same height as the enemy with the correct distance. Fighting goblins and beasts is a back and forth of between attacking and blocking enemy blows. Timing is key here and each enemy has a different set of moves to learn but even then you could be overwhelmed with enemies on each side and homing bats flying towards you. Baddies come in many different forms all relative to dungeons and dragons themes including beholders, centaurs, and spiders.
I’ve enjoyed the normal gameplay very much and boss battles only enhance this experience. Massive beasts that make your character look like an ant seem like insurmountable damage sponges but they can be beaten. I recommend the first playthrough on infinite credits for boss battles mostly, to learn their attack patterns and how to take them down. The first boss is a huge spider that spits out babies and will dive down to attack you with each successful blow. Now it becomes a balance game yet again between fighting the small spiders and focusing on the boss. Every boss has a large health bar at the bottom of the screen that must be whittled down with patience. That test of will is rewarded with loads of coin afterwards and feels good.
Thy Sword is a great game I would recommend. It was a fun play with minimal hiccups along the way. If you play and run into trouble feel free to reach out to me, as I had no one to talk to when I ran into some snags. Different combinations of items, characters, and difficulties scream of replayability and it shows since I’m on my second run. I doubt I will be good enough to beat it with one credit but if you do, let me know! Thanks to Ratalaika and thank you for reading.
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Switch
Release Date: 15/05/2020
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: RPG, Action, Platformer
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Download link: eShop