By Tom "TomBsTone" Bronneberg on May 19, 2020
What would you get if you were to take the original arcade Donkey Kong and mix it up with a game like Golden Axe, with just a dash of Super Meat Boy? Well, ladies and gentlemen; chances are, you would get "Thy Sword", of course. A few years ago indie developer GamePhase already released Thy Sword on Steam, but now Ratalaika Games published ports of the game for Xbox One, PS4, PS Vita and the Nintendo Switch. This is how I got my hands bloody; I tried out the game on the PS4.
Thy Sword is a procedural generated game, which is basically a fancy word for a game which puts together levels at random from a predefined set of parts. You, as the hero, get to make your way through these levels, obviously. At the start of the game, you get to choose what hero you'd like to be, like a Warrior, a Rogue or a Valkyrie, each of which come with different equipment and playstyles. Having chosen thy hero, it is thy duty to find 5 magic crystals, which have been scattered across the lands, fuse them together and defeat the Dark Lord once and for all. Sounds pretty simple, am I right? Well, it's not...
Thy swords random level design can be quite nasty; you either get lucky and beat the level easy as pie or, as Tommy from Snatch would say, you're "proper f*cked" and will be throwing your controller across the room in no time flat. The starting options like easy/normal/hard mode don't seem to have an impact on the levels , just on the option to respawn or (better said) the option to die and restart the entire game. I would highly suggest you play easy mode for the first few times, just so you can unlock some cool features and get to know all the mechanics of the game, as well as enemy attack patterns.
To me, these games are like puzzles; get to learn thy enemy, study their ways and then chop off their heads. You will gain coins during your quest, and after a few levels, you will arrive at a resting point. Here, some shops will sell you the necessary head chopping equipment. And in the corner, you will find a few rascals playing a game of cards that looks suspiciously similar to Black Jack. Here's a word of advice: DO NOT PLAY THIS CARD GAME!!! Because, just like me, you will probably lose all your hard earned coin and will be throwing thy controller through thy room once again. If you do decide to play, then use a system like starting small, if you lose double the bet and so on. Thus, you will at least have some coin left. The main problem with this mini game is that it's pretty addictive, and you cannot backtrack a level to gather more coins. Thus if thy would lose all thy coin collected, thy would not have enough to buy the gear needed to make thy life a lot easier... just saying, thou hast been warned!
The level design itself is pretty straight forward. Just one screen of platforms, some ladders to climb the platforms and a randomly placed enemy here and there. The enemies all have their own unique attack patterns, so you will need to learn them in order to vanquish thy foes and reach the end goal. Boss battles are well put together and challenging although some are easier than others. Character design is also really done well; even with characters being just 5 pixels wide and 12 pixels high, you can still see some nice detail in the trolls and goblins running amok in the forests. No I did not stare at the dancing maidens during the end credits after I defeated the Dark Lord... All right, I confess, I did actually stare... oh well, I liked them, so sue me.
There are also some two-player features in Thy Sword. First on this list is the co-op possibility. Not much to elaborate here, just you and your friend on the same screen, beheading enemies like there is no tomorrow. Just watch out not to get to enthusiastic and behead your friend. You will have to split the loot, or not, whatever tickles thy fancy of course. But we had the most fun playing the battle-royal. This is a two-players, one screen, winner takes all fight to the death. Random crates will be dropped with gear or potions, but the chaos that occurs on screen while you are trying to behead your friend is just fantastic to watch.
Playing Thy Sword is an absolute blast, especially considering its price. For a measly $10 game this is a lot of fun, especially the battle-royal mini game. Finish the normal game a few times to unlock the other characters and then start beheading your friends... but only in Thy Sword of course...