457379_largerLiving for glory kinda went out with dying by the sword: there just isn't much of it in the daily struggle to work a desk job, handle your homework or get your kids in bed on time. Sword & Glory [Free] is an outstanding game that imagines a time when life was all about the struggle to raise yourself and your family for nothing, earn a reputation for great deeds and pass that down through generations.

The life you live may always start the same—the same small homestead, the same brotherly advice— but you have a few key decisions to make before you begin. You can pick a clan, align yourself with the hardy Elk Clan, the noble Eagle Clan or the traditional Bear Clan. Or you can shove the whole clan system and go it alone. Similarly, you can dedicate yourself to a faith or go for a more worldly approach. Finally you define a personality trait for yourself. Those choices directly impact the life you'll lead—the kinds of quests you'll encounter, the opportunities that will arise and the ways you'll excel in combat.

mzl.fwflslwt.480x480-75

From those humble beginnings you head off to build a life. At first you'll probably focus on helping your family and clan, driving off competition for resources, hunting down petty thieves, and otherwise protecting your homestead. Maybe you'll get married. Maybe you'll range far from home.

Many decisions come down to a binary choice: do violence, or don't. Violence isn't always the best option, but it is usually the fastest route to glory (score, more or less), Epic points and silver. With those things you can improve your lot in life, so while you may want to pick your battles, you'll have to do some fighting.

Fighting comes down to a fairly simple duel system. You face off against a foe with a sword and shield. You have buttons for the same. Combinations of tapping and holding give you shield bashes, blocks, and careful, fast or power attacks. There's a rock-paper-scissors calculation going on in the background, and with that and careful timing you can destroy your foes.

mzl.tgyybreh.480x480-75With a few successful bouts under your belt, life opens up. You can expand your home, improving your stats in the process. You can buy new gear that gets passed down to your future characters. You can use your Epic points to unlock truly impressive items. And you can range farther afield, encountering new adventures and new challenges.

Wounds are easily dealt with at the cost of some of your hard earned Epic points, but eventually you'll take too many hits in a single fight and die. Even if you're a flawless warrior, death gets us all in the end. When that happens, your character is given a title for his sacrifice and a place in the graveyard. Your glory is marked on the leaderboard, your silver is lost, your points and gear go onto the next generation, and you start again anew.

It's a fantastic arrangement, well thought out from almost every angle. The most confusing part is that Sword & Glory is currently completely free. It seems as though room was left in its design for in-app purchases of Epic points, but those haven't materialized. You have to earn every bit of future success for yourself, and there is no cost but the effort you're willing to put in.

Sure, the art style might be a touch divisive (stark whites as far as the eye can see) and the game sometimes suffers from clumsy writing, but there's really no reason not to try it out. Sword & Glory delivers what it promises: glory to be had, and life and death by the sword.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Chefbot

    This is a good game and it should get the recognition it deserves.

  • Dams

    Kind of game i check the screenshot and skip...

    • http://ask.fm/MidianGTX MidianGTX

      And then realise you were foolish and learn your lesson?

      • Dams

        Nope. I expect a minimum polish / professionalism when i buy a game.

      • http://ask.fm/MidianGTX MidianGTX

        Ah, lack of taste and no eye for design. Gotcha.

      • Dams

        Sure

      • Greyskull

        It is polished. You skipped it though, so you really have no idea what you are talking about.

      • fastspinecho

        The art design is actually very nice. Everything seems to be animated in 3D and then sharpened/desaturated for a cel-shaded effect. Reminds me of Gunman Clive. I like it.

      • 28monkeys

        Dams know nothing about quality game.

      • Dams

        Of course !

  • iPadCary

    You've a point, Chefbot, but nothing that ever should happen, does.
    Take for example Electonic Arts.
    They are the only ones who can make a "Star Wars" game.
    Now you'd think, with such an important, well-loved cashcow, they'd put their absolute best people on it [DICE or Crytek] using the best graphics EA has [CrytekEngine & Frostbite].
    See? -- that's what *should* happen.
    But it isn't.
    And therein lies a lesson for us all.

    • WoeOfAftermath

      Umm.. but they did put DICE on a Star Wars game.

      • iPadCary

        Oh, yeah ....

        OK, forget everything I just said.

        Except that part about Bing Gordon.
        *That* you can remember.

        But everything else?
        Just forget you ever saw it.
        I know *I* will ....

    • themostunclean

      Funny how people will throw tantrums until they're blue in the face about EA. They act like its the most heinous, evil, corrupt organization in the world. Yet they're producing great games that people love (and the whiners still buy) while the US government is stealing from us and spying on our private communications.

      Really shows where some people's priorities lie. Pretty sad.

      • WarMachine

        EA doesn't do shit. It's the developers busting their asses off while EA swims in the cash.

      • iPadCary

        *Yeah!*

      • davidonabus

        The developers are EA. Why the separation of the two?

      • Protoman

        Actually I did do something besides whining. I stopped buying their games back at BF2. So there are people out there that put words into action.

      • themostunclean

        My whole point is its really petty to get so worked up about it when there's a whole lot more going on out there that effects our lives and the lives of our loved ones in much more drastic ways.

        It's a friggin game company. People are tired of hearing all the whining. Concern yourself with some real issues.

      • Protoman

        I do. I'm involved in my local politics. I go to many other forums that have to do with many political issues, many including the problems that you yourself brought up such as our government ripping us all off. In fact I'm sure you can find comments of mine on this forum where I bring it up here. However this is primarily a VIDEOGAME forum so it is a perfect platform to bring up opinions on a VIDEOGAME company wouldn't you say...or should I do it at one of the political forums I post on? Honestly I don't think it very proper to bring up EA's policies in a thread about how the government let the people who stole everyone's retirements off scott free, do you?

      • Protoman

        In fact your whole post is based on the ignorant assumption that you know me when you don't even know my real name so which of us here is actually dealing with "real issues".

      • themostunclean

        You weren't even the focus of the post. It was a generality.

        You seriously need to relax.

      • Protoman

        So now that you know that I'm really serious about real issues I have to relax. lmao too fucking funny. Good show sir. Good show.

      • themostunclean

        I saw no evidence that proves you do anything with "real issues" just more blustering.

        You need to relax because you're coming off as an arrogant tool.

      • Protoman

        I don't have to prove anything to you. You called the OP whiny for bringing up a valid complaint about a videogame company on a videogame forum because their are "real" issues in the world. I'm not the one who brought the realness into this discussion in the first place am I. You're the one who who wanted to stifle the OPs opinion with your will and I checked you and you're pissed now. He had every right to say what he did. If you want real world issues go to a political forum. If you send me your email I can give you several good ones. It will also satisfy your need to know if I'm true to my word sir. Sorry if I've offended you but I don't like people who appear to be against others freedom of opinion, which your response to the OP clearly was. It wasn't an argument, it was an insult.

      • Protoman

        Also when you look at EA from the 90s compared to now their is a marked difference in their choice to move to extreme capitalism...also you are wrong...they DO NOT produce games anymore...they buy dev houses to do that and than fire said houses staff when they finish said game. Perhaps you are a bit young to remember the good ol' days of the younger EA. don't get me wrong almost every great dev from the 90s has turned into this example of publisher/rapist...squenix...Activision and by association Blizzard...lots of the devs I looked up to in my younger years I no longer even bother looking at games they publish.

      • davidonabus

        I don't agree. EA does make games.

      • Protoman

        Name one.

      • davidonabus

        I could name plenty.. but I don't think it would do much to convince you, you seem pretty set in your ways.

      • Protoman

        Actually I was being serious. I spent some time after your comment looking for games EA developed themselves and couldn't find one. Thinking my research was faulty I was hoping you could enlighten me. I am actually trying to engage in discourse here.

      • themostunclean

        By the basic rules of logic-

        EA owns game studios, game studios make games. Therefor, by the transitive property, EA makes games. EA also markets, promotes, and distributes games.

        And there are good studios making good games under EA. Not buying a great game by good people just because it has an EA logo on it is idiotic.

      • Protoman

        No it's called boycotting. It's what the US did when we got sick of being under UK rule.

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        Dude, give it a rest.
        I like a good agitator, but your 'beefless beef' is filling a forum about an (apparently) cool game!
        We get your point.
        Now go do something else, Protoman! (Uh, do you DO anything else? Hope so.)

      • themostunclean

        Polite way of saying "stubborn, overly-sensitive a-hole".

      • Protoman

        Why don't you come back up and finish our conversation instead of jumping into someone else's?

      • Protoman

        Actually what I should ask is what is the last game EA, as in the parent company, developed a game, not a dev house they bought to do it for them. It has been years.

      • davidonabus

        It's not even a reasonable argument, Proto. I hear what you're saying, but you're wrong. Ok, if you need a single example.. how about the sports titles? Yes, they're labeled EA Sports, but the EA Sports brand is a part of EA. EA is a part of everything that EA does. Employees of EA Sports consider themselves EA employees. When they receive a paycheque, they know it comes from EA.

      • Protoman

        I suppose...EA to me is more a parent corporation at this point though. They finance, they market, they produce. It's like saying someone who works for Taco Bell is a Pepsi employee. Just because Pepsi owns Taco Bell doesn't make them a Pepsi employee. I guess it's really about philosophical perspective. The EA Sports point is a really great argument though.

        I have a tendency to hop from political forums to here and forget to leave my soapbox over there, sort of moronic of me to be sure.

        Also themostunclean poopooing the OP's opinion sort of got me in a mood and I do apologize for that but I can't stand people who aren't into freedom of ideas. Nope.

  • Wizard_Mike

    This sounds unbelievably awesome!

  • Maszek

    The problem with the game is that it becomes repetitive, its constant combat nothing else, the combatnis verynluck rather than skill based, and it is designed to kill you quickly.

    • themostunclean

      Yup. This review is too generous.

      Maybe the game gets better if you play longer than 30 minutes but I was too insanely bored to find out.

      I like the visual style. Everything else is too repetitive, basic and unoriginal.

  • captainChocolade

    Love the c64'ish graphics

  • Royce

    Great review, and only a little over half a year since it came out :p

    • basil

      They need to review other older games they haven't reviewed yet

  • King Random

    My favourite is Eagle Clan 😀

  • Nekku

    Is it like "King Of Dragon Pass"?

    • iPadCary

      My pastor says it's like "King Of Eagle Condensed Milk".

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        @ipadcary:disqus - What does your shrink say? You probably need one, or otherwise post a guide so we can decipher your 4th dimensional humor?
        Scratch that -- don't care enough to decipher.

      • http://ascii.textfiles.com/ IPadCary

        Ooo, look everyone!
        The thick eyeglasses & high-top Converse sneaker wearer has something to contribute!

  • RichRuzz

    Should I be playing this on my iPhone 5 or iPad 4 for the optimal or intended experience? (Don't think it supports icloud)

    • witedahlia

      I just started but I can tell you this much: it's so much easier to read the text on an iPad.

  • Greyskull

    I've been playing this for... i dunno...6 months? Good on ya for discovering it.

  • witedahlia

    I went to download it and under "customers also bought:" I saw a bunch from my gaming library. Including King of Dragon Pass, btw. And Tactical Warrior. Anyway, I'm about to dive in.

    • Greyskull

      I downloaded it awhile ago, and I "also bought" those other games.

  • Ryan Bach

    I'm not sure if this review is based on outdated info or if they just added this in as a response to the traffic this review generated, but it has IAPs to buy Epic points now.

  • grits

    Cool looking game!

  • diaskeaus

    The combat really isn't that deep. Everything else is. If you can get past the combat mechanics and focus on the procedural generation of story and benefits of gear, village construction, and long-term involvement (along with wise choices with character generation and perk choice) the game is quite expansive and fun.

  • Parkingtigers

    This is a good game, and you should download if. Great to see TouchArcade pick up on this game. It's another example of how a little gem can make it onto the App Store and be almost completely overlooked for six months.

    As TA readers have an obsession with IAP, it's worth noting that you absolutely do not need to buy more Epic Points at all. Never, ever. I bought some purely to help the developer and say thanks for making a great little game, but I'm struggling to spend them.

    The screenshots don't do this game justice, it's both awful looking and yet completely awesome at the same time. It's free, so no reason not to give it a go.

  • MUTILATOR

    Every interaction ends in either paying money or engaging in the game's simple and repetitive combat. There really isn't much going on here.

    Also, the review says that you cannot buy Epic Points currently, but you can, it's just that on the screen to buy them the text is invisible, but if you touch it it will ask you if you wanna spend $1000 for 2 points or whatever

  • Endscrypt

    Crashing on my ipad mini, anyone else ?

  • grits

    Loving it. Unique game worth a try for anyone.

  • McGannahann

    Wow! I'm having a great deal of fun with this one.

  • http://ascii.textfiles.com/ IPadCary

    Some guy sitting on a milkcrate out in front of a bodega told me
    that this game uses tessalated pixelshaders and will make the
    back of my iPad 2 seem unusually warm to the touch.

    On Sundays, they give me milk.

  • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

    How about a review of Dungeon Raid?!?!! That's an older -- and still *awesome* -- game!

    • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

      @toucharcade-5d10ee297718495cdf18e0ee827e1766:disqus - Hey, I already commented on that Dungeon Raid review!!
      Darned brain cells -- always dying on you when you need 'em! (Thanks for that link!)

  • Wizard_Mike

    Since this review came out, this has been the only game I feel like playing. Love it!

  • gmattergames

    Reminds me of "King of Dragon Pass" which is wee-old school, rpg goodness. Liking this!

  • Endscrypt

    Was, a great game before the last update broke it, no longer runs on my ipad mini 32gb crashes on the Unity boot up screen every damn time

    • witedahlia

      Hmm. That doesn't happen to me, not sure why. I'm on a 64 g mini but it's crammed full of stuff. I don't think it's crashed once

  • Endscrypt

    Yeah it's a strange one for sure, really can't understand why,fully up to date software ect. No worries there are plenty of great games at the moment! Still keeping my fingers crossed it does get sorted.

  • Piph

    WHY THE HELL IS THERE MO THREAD ABOUT THIS GAME?!

Sword & Glory Reviewed by Nissa Campbell on . Rating: 4.5