Last year, I played the first Swords and Bones on my Series X. Being a big fan of pixel art games, my first glimpse at the screenshots got me really intrigued. The screenshots were colorful, and the initial gameplay I saw promised some fun platforming action. However, the game didn’t live up to my expectations. While the graphics were nice, the overall experience was mostly mediocre. So, I approached this second entry with a bit of skepticism. Nevertheless, I believe in giving everyone and everything a second chance. That’s why I volunteered when our chief editor reached out to me with a key. Let’s see if this second game can please me more than the first one.
A genuine heroine
In the first game, you played as a nameless hero on a journey to save the world from the clutches of the Wolf Demon. As the demon world invades the human world every 500 years, it was only a matter of time before history would repeat itself. This time, Berenice is tasked with taking on the demons and their boss. The Scythe Demon, who wiped out her entire village. Like its predecessor, the story in Swords and Bones is utterly boring and could have been written by a 6th grader. So, don’t expect a deep story filled with mind-blowing plot twists, as you will be disappointed. I understand they wanted to capture an 80’s/90’s feel with this game, and back then games didn’t have much story either, but they could have made it a bit more interesting.
Stay in your lane
While the story may be lackluster, the graphics in Swords & Bones 2 are once again top-notch. The game consists of six worlds, each with nine levels, including a boss. Everything, from the enemies to the beautiful backgrounds, is filled with intricate details and is a significant improvement over the previous entry. The enemies vary greatly in strength, size, and appearance, with small rats and grotesque bosses being among them. However, the hand-drawn cinematics in the game fall short. In Holland, there is a saying, “Schoenmaker blijf bij je leest,” which roughly translates to “Stay in your lane.” In other words, it means to focus on what you do best and let others handle what you can’t. The hand-drawn graphics in this game look terrible and like the story it could have been better off executed by an artist skilled in this form of art.
If we take a look at the gameplay, Swords & Bones 2 doesn’t deviate from the path paved by its predecessor. Berenice starts off with a sword and, new to the franchise, a shield to defend herself. As you progress, you earn money by opening chests and defeating enemies, which can be used to purchase better equipment. You can also increase your health and mana, and unlock new spells. Enemies vary in strength and require anywhere from one to several hits to be defeated. They don’t pose much of a challenge and most of my deaths came from missing platforms or jumping into pointy spikes. Bosses can provide a bit more of a challenge until you figure out their patterns, after which defeating them becomes easier. Additionally, each level contains a goblet to collect, which adds some replay value to the game.
Disclaimer: Swords & Bones 2 on the Switch currently has a game-breaking bug that prevents further progress in the final level. We have contacted the developer regarding this issue, and they have assured us that a patch is on the way as soon as possible.
If you enjoyed the previous Swords & Bones game or if you're new to platforming games, you will likely enjoy this second installment. The game features beautiful pixel artwork and decent platforming gameplay. Despite its flaws, you can still have around 4 to 6 hours of fun gameplay. Personally, I was not enthralled because I felt it lacked challenge once again.