The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
When we first heard back in July that the folks responsible for Soosiz and Swordigo, two of the finest platformers to grace mobile devices, were working on a brand new title, well you had me at hello. The fact that the new game they were working on looked absolutely stunning in the early gameplay gifs just sealed the deal. And now this week that game, Grimvalor ($6.99), is finally available and I think it has more than lived up to my lofty expectations. If you played one of those previous titles, Swordigo, then Grimvalor is going to feel very familiar right off the bat. It has the same sort of 2.5D graphical engine, the same solid controls, and the same floaty-in-a-good-way physics. While Swordigo was fantastic in just about every way, Grimvalor raises the bar significantly.
First off are the visuals. Swordigo was criticized by some for its somewhat chunky visuals that looked like they’d be more in line with a Nintendo 64 game. Personally I found them charming, but if you didn’t, then Grimvalor should more than satisfy you. There’s a dark fantasy theme here and everything from the creepy environments to the also creepy enemy designs is gritty and gorgeous. You can tell there’s a lot of Dark Souls inspiration here. But because it’s such a dark and gritty game the moments where they use brightness or cool lighting effects really stand out, and I’ve stopped just to admire what was happening around me more than a few times during my time with the game. Of course, when I did, fiendish ghouls came in and destroyed me for not paying attention, but it was worth it!
Another huge upgrade over Swordigo is the combat in Grimvalor. It remains simple enough for anyone to grasp with just a couple of buttons and swipes to deal with, but it’s decently complex so that you really have to pay attention to what enemies are doing and react accordingly rather than just button mash your way through. Most important is that the combat is really satisfying and when you get in a nice rhythm the game makes you feel like a total bad ass. An RPG-like progression system that sees you unlocking new weapons, items, armors and the like makes Grimvalor a game that’s hard to put down as you are constantly working towards seeing your character grow even stronger, and with that satisfying combat it’s just fun to go back and grind against previous enemies not necessarily because you have to but just because it’s so rewarding to do so.
All this comes at a one-time cost with no IAP or any other shenanigans to deal with. Just a lengthy and challenging game that demands skill. We’ve covered all this and more in our 5 star review of Grimvalor earlier this week, so be sure to give that a read if you have not done so yet. But if you enjoyed Swordigo way back in the day, this really does feel like a full spiritual successor in every way, and is probably even better than an actual Swordigo 2 (although I would of course be more than happy to see a Swordigo 2 someday, mind you). Or if you’re simply a fan of action, platforming, combat, and gorgeous dark fantasy themes, you really can’t go wrong picking up Grimvalor.