God of Blades is a unique permutation on the "auto-runner" genre, as your "Nameless King" dashes through a series of predesigned levels. Your controls consist of simple swipes, which swing your sword in one of three directions or pause briefly for a block. You face off against a variety of other enemies, also running headlong into wielding weapons.
There's a sort of rock-paper-scissors element to combat. Do you approach with the overhead strike, or lead with the slower, but longer-reaching sideways swing? Or do you block? Most of the time, you'll connect with your first swing and take your enemy down. Sometimes, especially with bosses, it becomes a tense battle of parries and quick attacks, in which you hope you connect before your enemy does.
It's sword fighting distilled to an exciting, easy to learn essence. Plus the ability to sling a body with your sword onto the next enemy, killing him as well. I don't think that happens in real sword fighting, but it's hilarious. I guess you don't expect real sword fights to be hilarious either.
Appropriately for a game built around fictional fantasy novels, God of Blades
ties into real books in a surprising way. New swords can be unlocked through "Loreseeker," which is a fancy term for going to a library and connecting to its wi-fi network. If you're not already going to your local library, perhaps some free virtual swords would entice you. But why aren't you going to your local library? I'm worried you're missing out on one of your neighborhood's most useful resources.
While the effect of all the overwrought high-fantasy stuff is amusing, I suspect there's some deeply serious philosophy under all of it. White Whale says the game "asks players to think about memory, culture, and loss in terms of stories, books, and the communities that love them." That fits with the library tie-in, and the "Nameless King" explores weird, hazy memories as he fights. In addition, the notional books that frame God of Blades
remind players that there is an infinite variety of real literature in the world that hasn't been discovered. And look, you're at the library anyway!
God of Blades is available on iOS for $2.99. We're always looking for new distractions. Want to submit your game for Portabliss consideration? You can reach us at portabliss aat joystiq dawt com.