Thy Sword review for PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS Vita
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: GamePhase
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No

Really, if you?ve ever played any of the many, many retro-tinged platformers out there, you?ve basically played Thy Sword. It?s got all the hallmarks of the genre, from the 8-bit graphics to the chiptunes music to the high level of difficulty. There?s not a whole lot you won?t have seen before.

That said, there are a couple of twists here worth mentioning. One of them is fairly basic: the levels are all procedurally-generated, which means that every time you die — and you will die plenty, for reasons I?ll get into shortly — it?s not like you can just remember what you did wrong and adjust accordingly. No, you need to try your luck at another level entirely. It?s worth noting here that Thy Sword also takes a somewhat confusing approach to your progression through the game: when you die, you have the option of retrying. Selecting ?yes? starts you back at the first level of your given world; select ?no,? however, and you get kicked back to the title screen, where you have the option of continuing…which takes you back to the level in which you died (though only numerically the same level, not literally, since again these are procedurally generated levels).

The other twists are a little more interesting, though. First, you have the option of playing as either a Barbarian (who has more power) or a Valkyrie (who has arrows to go along with her sword). While this is hardly a ground-breaking innovation, I don?t recall these games giving you multiple ways to play the first time around (or showing that kind of gender inclusivity for that matter), and it?s a nice change of pace.

Secondly, Thy Sword gives you an instakill move right off the bat: a twirling sword move that allows you to decapitate even the toughest of enemies. That said, it requires perfect timing and spacing to pull off — start your attack too close to your enemy, and you?ll go rushing past them harmlessly, and find yourself wide open to attacks. Coupled with the different options for who you want to play as, and it?s fair to say that Thy Sword is relatively adventurous, as these kinds of games go.

It?s still pretty generic, though. Thy Sword may be different from the dozens and dozens of other games that fit within its genre, but it?s only a slight difference. In the big scheme of things, it?s still a platformer with ideas and a look that first came into fashion a couple of decades ago. Whatever your thoughts are on games like that, this game will do nothing to dispel them.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Thy Sword PS4/Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: B-