iPhone-SOF-02The iPhone has become home to a number of retro ports and retro-styled games, but few come close to the amount of care that went in to Sword of Fargoal [App Store], a recently released classic dungeon crawling adventure game. The original creator Jeff McCord teamed up with Paul Pridham (of Saucerlifter fame) to create a greatly enhanced version of Fargoal, a game originally designed 30 years ago in BASIC.

From our in-depth look at the game:

In a nutshell, the game places the player within the top level of a deep series of dungeons with the quest of seeking out the legendary "Sword of Fargoal" and escaping with it from the depths of said dungeons. Complicating matters is the fact that the layout of each dungeon level is randomly generated when the player enters it, and that the dungeons are all initially bathed in darkness, revealing themselves only as the player explores. Those lucky enough to locate the sword have only 2,000 seconds to find their way out of the dungeons which, even on the way up, are randomly generated…. Not a proposition for the meek.


Along the way, the player encounters a vast array of enemies, both human and not-so-human. Battling these enemies, the player builds experience points which allow the character to level, increasing his fighting abilities and hit points. As well, various spells can be found throughout the dungeons that aid the player in completing his quest: Invisibility, Drift, Light, Regeneration, Teleport, and Shield.

Sword of Fargoal is in essence a perfect retro port. The various graphical and interface improvements from the original do a great job at bringing the game up to today's standards while still maintaining a delightful vintage flare with gameplay that stays true to the game's roots. If you've never experienced a roguelike dungeon crawler, Sword of Fargoal is a great place to start as it's by far the most accessible.

While the limited-time $1.99 sale is in place, I highly recommend giving Fargoal a try if you're at all interested in retro games, especially if you like randomly generated games that provide nearly infinite replay value. If you're looking for an even more classic roguelike, check out Rogue Touch [$2.99] although both games are worth owning if you like one or the other.

App Store Link: Sword of Fargoal, $1.99

  • skamando

    I'm glad this dropped. I was gonna pik it up when I heard Paul worked on it. Saucelifter is my favorite iPhone game.

  • http://minigore.blogspot.com jouni

    This is easily my most played game right now, and I play a *lot* of games. Highly recommended! 🙂

    Somewhat different pacing than in our game Minigore, but works perfectly for short sessions of dungeon-delving. Controls may take a moment to get used to (very little in guide arrows on screen) but after you get the hang of it they are like second nature. Epic 8-bit sound effects and atmospheric music.

    At this price it's a steal, just click 'buy'. 🙂

  • http://www.silentrocco.com Silent Rocco

    GET IT!
    This is the best Christmas Present, the App Store has to offer.
    And the first update with more content and new cool features is coming soon!

  • Seemarz

    Didn't really like it... but then again I've only played around 30 minutes. And when you die you have to start over? That really put me off..

    • David

      Same here. It's a very polished game, but I just couldn't get into it.

      • http://minigore.blogspot.com jouni

        It's not for everyone, but the Rogue-like genre to which SoF also belongs, works exactly on that premise; you have just one life and if you die it's all over. Hack, NetHack, Moria and its variant Angband and the proverbial Rogue are all well known examples from PC and various Un*x platforms.

        NetHack is especially cruel, you could have invested 10+ hours into a character and trip on the staircase down because you were carrying too much, and tumble with the basilisk corpse in your inventory. You die.

        Embrace death as a part of the learning process in these games. It's always random anyway so you won't ever be repeating the exact same steps. You just try to make sure not to make the same mistake twice.

        Embrace life hanging by a thread, surrounded by dozens of monsters, down to your last healing potion and scroll of teleportation, as some of the best gaming experiences to be had.

  • MrMuesli

    Have to echo the enthusiastic posts above. All the dissenters in the ranks are usually from people who aren't used to the harsh 'one life one chance' game play, but after a while you won't want it any other way, believe me. SoF has PURPOSEFULLY blended old with new in terms of graphics and sound, so don't expect 3D rendered blood baths every time you do battle and you'll have a blast. This game is as good as your imagination is rife. And, as I understand, there are some treats coming along in up-dates soon: )
    Go ye forth, brave knight, to yonder app store and press thy thumb upon the magic button hence forth. Thou shalt not regret it: )

  • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

    Hey Eli, thanks for the nod to Rogue Touch here too! It seems I actually served as inspiration for a few roguelikes in the app store now... hopefully the genre will continue to make big leaps in 2010. I'll be doing my part, I'm sure Jeff and Paul won't be sitting still either!

    Anyone on the fence- Sword of Fargoal is a steal at $1.99, and they have an update with new features almost ready to submit. Get it now... Do it! 🙂

  • Nightmoore

    This is a fantastic game. Highly recommended. For those complaining about dying/starting over....that's the point of this type of game. It is hardcore in nature and insures you actually think before doing anything crazy. If you want something casual, look elsewhere. If you want a real challenge....well, good look getting that sword outta there.

  • http://www.fargoal.com/ Jeff McCord

    Yeah, thanks again CommanderData. We are among your biggest fans! I true "mutual admiration society" here!!

    -- Jeff McCord (Sword of Fargoal)

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/ujnhunter Ujn Hunter

    Quick! Drop it to $0.99!

  • Matthew

    Roguelike? Didn't Sword Of Fargoal come out before Rogue? Or am I messing up my video game history. I was a huge fan of the C64 version and still am. Always wanted to do a version of this game, and was really happy to see the real thing on the iPhone. Thanks Jeff!

    • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

      Matthew, your roguelike history is mistaken 🙂 Rogue was being played in universities at least three years prior to Sword of Fargaol's introduction in 1983. Even though it is not a direct rogue "child" like moria, nethack, and so on, it has enough of the same characteristics to be called a roguelike.

      As I said in my previous post, it's a great game, and everyone needs to give it a shot! And Jeff, we're definitely part of the "mutual admiration society"!

  • http://www.nyshockexchange.com Jonathan R

    This is a great game. I'm very happy I got it.

  • rolferantz

    This is the first roguelike I've ever played and I think it's great.

  • Seb

    Looks good, but so far in the UK its been un-purchasable for the past 30 minutes (since 1:50pm)...come on!!!!!

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/ujnhunter Ujn Hunter

    it's un-purchasable in the US as well...

  • Joel

    I picked it up... it's excellent 🙂

  • kennfusion

    This was a joke. They lowered the price and then as soon as it got some pickup on sites they raised it right back, which is why it ws un-purchasable.

    I was prepared to purchase at $1.99, but now I would not purchase it at all because of that quick reverse.

    Boycott Fargoal, LLC forever!

  • Stan Winstone

    I cry foul. Could not buy at sale price and now price jumps back up- major bait and switch! Please do the right thing and restart sale.