HEAVY – Sword (out now, $0.99) is a side-scrolling platformer with RPG elements and lots of action. As a retro game, it comes with 8-bit graphics and the sort of music you’d expect from such a game.

heavysword01In HEAVY – Sword, you play as Pike, a warrior who’s got to save a princess who was kidnapped from a castle by a bunch of monsters. Styled very much like Super Mario Brothers with added weaponry, you can explore different parts of the world by sliding down wells that function similarly to pipes.

As with many platformers, your basic goal is to collect valuables (coins big and small) and not die. To achieve the latter, you’ve of course got to evade deadly obstacles and enemy attacks. Fortunately, you’re armed with a sword that you can upgrade into a bigger sword, and you’ll sometimes have access to projectiles, beginning with arrows. With the coins you collect, you can buy weapons and upgrade your character, for instance to increase your starting health or obtain the ability to double jump.

Enemies are diverse. They come in different sizes and forms. Some small unarmed ones are easy to kill—either by jumping onto them or slashing at them. Others may only be attacked with a weapon. The tougher enemies range from mutant plants that shoot fiery projectiles to a monster helicopter. Strangely, the game is also populated with some harmless creatures like chickens and a cow. They don’t appear to have any distinct purpose, but they add to the RPG atmosphere.

Boss11Though HEAVY – Sword calls for lots of button mashing, the level complexity saves it from being just a boring button masher. Aside from the challenges of various obstacles that include seesaws and pits of lava, you can also play a mini memory game of card matching.

I tried HEAVY – Sword before the recent update and after. Before, I would say the controls were nasty, especially on the iPad. Now, it’s much improved. You can resize the buttons, adjust the opacity, and rearrange them. You can also opt for touch-sensitive jumping, which breaks it into two jump heights: a short tap for a lower jump and a longer tap for the original high jump. Although I wouldn’t call the controls perfect, these changes are a huge help.

iFanzine Verdict: HEAVY – Sword is a retro action game that bears much similarity to Super Mario Brothers, but it does have its own strengths, especially in weaponry and RPG-like upgrades. While this is hardly the best side-scrolling platformer for the iOS, it still makes for some decent fun.