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Swords & Bones review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Red Deer Games
Developer: SEEP
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Here’s the most important – and probably only – thing you need to know about Swords & Bones: it cites Ghosts’n Goblins as its main influence.

Maybe I’m overgeneralizing, but it feels like any time a game invokes Ghosts’n Goblins, that means two things: it’s going to have retro graphics, and it’s going to be insanely difficult. Unsurprisingly, that’s certainly the case with Swords & Bones.

Unfortunately for Swords & Bones, a lot of games have done this a lot better, and done it with a lot more personality and style. I mean, just a few months ago, we had Infernax – and while that admittedly was also strongly influenced by Castlevania, it inhabited roughly the same space, and did so in a way that was much more memorable.

Swords & Bones’ problem is that it’s not tough as nails in the fun way, but rather in the “how can we punish players for choosing to play this game?” kind of way. Your sword doesn’t have a ton of range, and even the slightest whiff of contact can take out a big chunk of your precious health, which means you’re always trying to get close enough to enemies so that you can reach them without them killing you. Annoyingly, you can also only hit one enemy from one direction at a time (though you can spin around and hit two enemies, confusingly enough), which means that when multiple enemies are coming at you, one is pretty much guaranteed to hit you. Obviously this challenge is part of the charm of a Ghosts’n Goblins-a-like, but it feels a little unbalanced here.

But if you’re a fan of Ghosts’n Goblins, maybe an unbalanced challenge is what you’re after? Still, it’s hard not to feel like there are other, better ways of scratching that particular itch than with Swords & Bones.

Red Deer Games provided us with a Swords & Bones Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C+