Release Date: 15 December 2015
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Swords and Sorcery -Underworld is as retro as is could possibly get. Saying that, it could possibly be too retro for some, especially if you have no memories of early 1980s FPS RPGs.
Even if you weren’t around it the 80s you’ll still be able to appreciate the game’s odd direction and classic feel. There are very little tutorials upon starting, and no help whatsoever when you need to know where to go. This is a sure sign that the game is inspired by some of the greatest DOS games of the day, which put you into the game and relied on your wit and skill to find your way around.
The game supplies you with six pre-made characters, and lets you choose a class based off the game’s six classes – Knight, Paladin, Archer, Rogue, Priest, and Sorcerer. It would be the most ideal approach to the game to have one of each class, as they all have their own unique skills and abilities which come in handy later on.
Combat in the game revolves around random encounters, which you will find while exploring each dungeon. The combat is well-designed and relies on strategy as well as how well you know each of your characters. Positioning, grids, and initiating attacks all come in to play when in battle. Choosing an attack and then choosing what enemy to attack might seem simple enough, but it all relies on the distance in your grid, so archers would be able to attack enemies at the back, and the paladin would focus on front enemies. There are also options to rearrange your character positions while in combat, and you can flee and do the usual skip turn, and defend. Although the combat seems streamlined, it relies on your sense of imagination to visualize the battle in front of you and the situation at hand.
Art style, music and sound are all classic. Cheap sound effects that play when your character dies, all tie into the retro feel. At times a soundtrack will last around 30 seconds, which gives you that feeling that you are playing on a PC with 512Kbs of RAM and it is unable to handle large music files. The entire game’s cinematics are hand drawn, which was the only way to produce decent game visuals back then, the same goes for enemies.
Swords and Sorcery – Underworld is extreme retro, not even games like Hotline Miami come close to how retro this is. From its presentation to its relentless battle system, it all stems from classic games that were all about gameplay and less about flashy visuals. If you even enjoyed games like the original Elder Scrolls, then this is for you. The game has great potential and really does well to offer a solid RPG classic that will keep you restarting and dying for hours.