HEAVY – sword in Review – Mario With A Sword, Anyone?

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Heavy Sword reminds me of a cross between Super Mario Bros and The Legend Of Zelda. Now some of you might be thinking “isn’t that basically Zelda 2 for the NES?” That’s probably fair enough, but since I never played that title I’m sticking with the correlation. The problem is that this really isn’t as interesting as either of those games separately, let alone what a good combination of them could be. That alone I could live with, since either of those franchises is hard to live up to. What is troubling me, however, is the fact that the game keeps freezing up on me.

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Like so many of these games the basic premise is that the princess has been kidnapped – in this case by a bunch of ugly trolls and such – and you have to rescue her. Now I will admit that it was a nice touch having the villains walk right into the castle and take her, but it makes you wonder whose payroll the guards were on. Anyway, you’ll traipse the countryside with your trusty sword, slaying monsters and somewhat frequently hacking up the scenery in order to get to certain areas of the level. Your sword has the built in ability to shoot a bolt of energy if you unleash enough attacks in quick succession, but along the way you’ll also pick up level ups and power ups for your sword. These will be diminished if you get hit and completely go away if you exit the level by choice or by death.

Power ups are found by bopping your head on bricks, and you can find coins that way as well. The annoying thing is that in this game, coins that come out of bricks don’t automatically get added to your total – you have to catch them first. Since there’s only a limited time before they fade away, you’re likely to miss a few here and there. There are also coins laying around for your retrieval, as well as three special coins on each level that might take some doing to collect. But enough of the fun stuff; there are also plenty of obstacles to overcome. It’s a platform game, so you have all the typical moving, tilting and disappearing platforms to deal with. There is a variety of creatures waiting to end your run early, many of which take multiple hits and some of which simply can’t be killed. There are bosses as well, the first of which is not overly difficult unless the game locks up on you.

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I wouldn’t normally mention such things, because I’ve had a lot of games freeze on me a time or two. However, Heavy – Sword locked up at least twice during the first boss battle, causing me to fight the boss several times before beating it. There have been at least two or three lock ups outside of that fight as well, one of which happened just as I was exiting a level which meant I lost my progress on that level. It’s not that there is anything overly difficult to make up this early on in the game, but it’s more the principle of not wanting to continue for fear of the game freezing up during a much more challenging stage. If you can get past that or don’t care, there is some replay value to be had in trying to collect the three special coins on each level, attempting to earn all 9 achievements or simply hording enough gold to by the few upgrades that are available in the shop. Unfortunately, so far none of the levels have been intriguing enough for multiple plays through.

The graphics are probably the highlight of the game. A little less inspiration from Super Mario Bros would have been nice, but the backgrounds are well drawn and nicely detailed none the less. The characters look good and seem to be well animated, and I like the chickens that are running around. Too bad you can’t serve them up to replenish some hearts. The sound effects are pretty standard fare, and either I don’t remember the old games so well or monsters have gotten strangely quiet in the last few years. The music is pretty decent, and there appear to be several different tracks, even in the 10 or 11 levels I’ve played so far.

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I think Heavy – Sword has a lot of potential. It actually started picking up a bit towards then end of my play time as well. However, I still find it irritating that I have to chase after my coins. Isn’t the fact that I got them worthy enough of being awarded them? Worse yet, I’ve had the game lock up at least one more time in my last round of playing. Finally, while I appreciate the homage to Super Mario Bros, which is undoubtedly one of the best 2D platform franchises ever, I think the developer needs to tone down the SMB likeness a bit. I’m not going to give up on the game yet, but I think I’ll put it aside for a bit and see what updates come down the pike.

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App Summary
Title: HEAVY – swordDeveloper: ashley jackson
Reviewed Ver:Min OS Req:5.0
Price:$0.99App Size:
  • Cool graphics
  • Decent music
  • Eventually you get a mech to ride in
  • Level design takes too long to get interesting
  • Hate chasing after coins
  • Game randomly freezes up
  • Needs to be more HEAVY – sword and less Super Mario Bros

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  • Kloo13

    If you are looking for a good platformer for iOS, try Pixhelland.
    There is a trailer on youtube

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