Straight outta Auckland, Swordy is a surprisingly cheery bloodbath generator for up to eight friends. Although the game is very much in the early stages, its core concept is appealingly Thunderdome-esque: a small arena, a bunch of combatants, plenty of deadly weapons, a top-down interface, and a killer physics engine underpinning all the combat.
See, Swordy doesn’t really have an “attack” button, as developer Frogshark intentionally eschewed that mechanic. Instead, you have to pick up a variety of weapons – most of them large and long-handled – and then build up momentum the old-fashioned way in order to do some real damage. Using the sticks, you can spin your fighter in a circle to build up centrifugal force, then slam into someone nearby… or you can just whip your arms around to try to get a quick shot at an attacker. You can also move away to dodge, of course – or, if you’ve built up enough momentum, you can release your weapon and hurl it at someone for massive damage.
The game is as chaotic and hilarious as it sounds: a session of Swordy is filled with plenty of yelling “No, get back!” and “I’m coming for you now!” We played a session with four players simultaneously at the [email protected] event at this year’s Game Developers Conference, and we can only imagine how insane the action would be with eight people at once. Right now, Swordy is being specifically designed for local multiplayer only, so this is very much a game you sit down and play with friends at a party, or for a quick romp while you’re waiting for your dinner to finish cooking.
Not that it doesn’t have top-tier production values, though; even in the very early version we played, weather effects dynamically interrupted the action (rain, for example, refracts much of your view, making everyone harder to see and their positions harder to predict), and there was a huge variety of weapon sizes, shapes, and tactical applications. Frogshark promises plenty more updates, tweaks, levels, and even game modes as time goes on.
As it is now, Swordy is a laugh-a-minute fighting game with a unique, physics-based angle that makes a match feel rather like a session of you and your friends hitting each other with empty wrapping paper tubes. What you’ll find is plenty of joy, laughter, and silliness when Swordy hits Xbox One later this year.