Swordy: Adj. 1) Sword-like 2) Full of swords 3) Irritating typo

The best way to explain what Swordy’s action looks like is to imagine what would happen if you handed an assortment of melee weapons to a group of real-life people whose only interaction with that kind of thing came through videogames. They’d know what to do, but the physical reality of doing it would be so far beyond them that they’d just start spinning around a bunch of Vitamin D-starved dervishes until they hit something.


Touting itself as a ‘physics brawler’, Swordy takes the brilliantly wonky conceit of Gang Beasts and runs (well, awkwardly waddles) with it. Every player begins with an unarmed character in a low-poly arena strewn with weapons. Think of it as that scene from The Hunger Games, but set in a Greek Temple. And no one has a face. Everyone rushes to the nearest armament and, suddenly, you’re all learning how to use them.
''It’s that scene from The Hunger Games, but no one has a face''
A short sword’s easy pressing what was once the punch button sends it stabbing out in front of you. Use the right stick to spin your character with it pointed outward and you have yourself a stunted take on the Zelda spin-slash. You could even let go of the grip button and use your momentum to send it flying into an enemy’s chest.

Then you pick up a claymore. It’s too heavy to stab with, but its enormous range makes it a far better spinning weapon if you can get up to speed. A huge wooden warhammer can’t easily be spun, but hold it above your head, run forward and stop, and you’ll see it crash onto an enemy skull, sending neon pixel-blood in bright streaks behind them. Celebrate for too long, though, and the idiot that only grabbed a shield will work out that they can club you to death with it.

Our time with Swordy has shown us that it comes with all the tension and moment-to-moment tactics of a traditional arena deathmatch game, but it never frustrates or angers it’s too funny for that. Watching someone run towards you as you swing a flail, catching you with a punch and sending you, improbably, flying three metres into a wall is simply more fun than if you’d just killed them.

We’re not sure if Frogshark’s game will offer much in the way of longevity or fighting game depth. In fact, we doubt it. Its promise lies in the way it makes every round a vision of good old-fashioned violent slapstick give us more and more ways to accidentally kill someone, and that’s as good a reason to keep coming back as any skill-based gauntlet. Which reminds us stick a gauntlet in there. We want to slap someone’s head off.

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