Current Obsession – Sword & Spoon

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Here’s the game that’s kept me up till 3am tonight: Sword & Spoon

The gameplay is simple; defend your castle from invaders by building and upgrading its rooms. From the variety of rooms you may choose to build, there are those that spawn units to fend off invaders and/or support those that do; and there are those that spawn or affect the different resources you are tasked with manipulating, such as food in the form of potatoes, which governs the rate at which your combat units respawn, and currency in the form of gold, which allows you to build and upgrade rooms (as well as activate level-specific gimmicks like watchtowers and lanterns).

Sword&Spoon 1

Though the game is not all that complex at first glance, it really pushes you to make the best decisions possible in each situation. It’s often required that you go through at least some trial and error in order to get the hang of each level’s challenges. Thankfully, and I am very thankful, Sword & Spoon is free-to-play in the truest sense of the word, like old browser games on Newgrounds, Nitrome, or Miniclip. Which is insane for a game as fun as Sword & Spoon is.

Honestly, I’m impressed. This here is a real treasure of a game. The difficulty amps up just the right amount from level to level. Nothing has felt impossible so far, no level too easy either (except for the short introductory levels at the start of each set, there just to give you a preview of the challenges to come).

I’m at a loss for words about this game. In a certain way, it’s hard to say what makes a game good when it all just works. Just goes to show how little I actually know about game design. I’m sure there’s an elaborate web of mathematically interwoven mechanics that have been fine-tuned to deliver just the right amount of difficulty at just the right time. But when a game is so tightly made, it’s hard to see what makes it work. Without chink in the armor, it’s hard to deconstruct and reverse-engineer it.

Sword&Spoon 2

It took me 3 tries to get this screenshot. The first two times, I got distracted and ended up completing the level before I could snap a shot.

Alas, it ain’t a perfect game. I haven’t completed it and seeing as it’s nearly 4am now, I don’t think I’ll finish it tonight. The game’s difficulty, so perfect through the first two sets of levels, seems to unravel at World 3. It stopped feeling like a challenge. It can’t be that I just got too good at the game because I’m about to fall asleep and I’m not even trying. I wouldn’t have been able to get through a level from World 2 playing this way so it’s disappointing that the game has let me down now.

Still, it ain’t a bad game and it’s definitely, definitely worth a look. It requires just the right mix of planning and thinking on your feet that I love, and makes me feel clever for playing like I do. Hopefully, the difficulty balances out again before the end of the game. But then again, I think I may have had my fill already. Or maybe that’s just the disappointment speaking? I’ll know tomorrow if I don’t forget to return to the game. As it stands I neither hope to remember nor forget. All I want to do is sleep, haha.

Props to Jayisgames for repping the game on their site. I recommend that site as well, they host and hype some quality stuff.

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