Sword Quest has good ideas that are bogged down by its slow pace.
When we work through a role-playing game, one of the questions we ask ourselves the most (aside from “How do monsters made of stone make babies?”) is, “Where is this weapon shop getting all these crazy swords from? Who makes these things?”
You’ll find your answer in Sword Quest, a Facebook-based simulation game that puts you behind the anvil of a mystic sword blacksmith (you’ll have to search a little harder for the secrets of stone monster reproduction. Sorry). Sword Quest has heart, depth, and an interesting premise. Unfortunately, the long waits that are necessary between turns make it an extremely slow play.
Sword Quest casts you as a new smith who appears to be harboring some kind of inner talent for sword-making. Your main goals are to buy raw materials, forge swords, and then sell those swords in order to buy more raw materials. You can also hand over swords to fulfill Quest conditions, and you can fuse three identical “Epic” swords to make a “Legendary” blade. If you manage to produce a Legendary blade, you’ll unlock manga pages related to the Sword Quest universe, which makes for an interesting bonus item to chase after.
To make a sword, you must prepare your raw materials (and wait), and then proceed with the forging process (which requires you to wait around some more–often several hours, depending on the sword’s material). While your sword is gestating, you can hammer it with a variety of mallets that bestow different bonuses and effects on finished weapons. Ideally, you’ll want to invite friends to play along with you so that they can each hammer your baking blade and improve the final outcome.
Depending on different factors, including your expertise level (which increases every time you work with a particular material), and plain ol’ luck, you might produce a nice, normal sword–or you may end up with a considerably rarer Epic sword. It’s fun to whisk away the cloths covering your finished blades and seeing what you wind up with.
Sadly, it takes so long to finish a weapon that the final result is barely worth the build-up. The acutal forging process could stand to be more satisfying, too: as things stand, you basically lay out your materials and wait for stuff to happen. Hammering your sword doesn’t change its shape in real time, and you can only do it once before you have to (you guessed it!) wait for your hammers to recharge. Most social games are built around rewarding the player for clicking objects, but Sword Quest doesn’t reward you for doing much of anything. Even decorating your smithy with one of the several themes offered is a lackluster affair.
Word is that Doremi Star, the developers of Sword Quest, is working on more content for the game. Let’s hope that proves to be the case. Sword Quest tries hard to offer something new to the Facebook gaming genre, but it’s hollow and slow. With a few timing adjustments and some new content, it could wind up a winner.
At the very least, it’s a good game to keep in the back of your mind next time you buy 99 swords from an RPG vendor. Those swords don’t grow on trees, you know.