Let me start by admitting something: I’m not a big fan of Minecraft. As a member of the gaming media, I think it’s important that I keep an open mind on the industry, but one of my tougher challenges therein is resisting the urge to gloss over anything that gives me those vibes. Which is why I’m glad that I’m writing this article, because I’ve realized that Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff actually looks pretty cool, even to me.
And don’t get the wrong idea here. My brain’s instant association between Minecraft and developer Kindred Games’ upcoming Steam Early Access RPG was in error — Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff may have that square-headed, house-building, look that Mojang Studios made iconic way back in 2009, but in many ways the two games couldn’t be more different. Once I set aside my silly biases and really soaked in the announcement trailer, I was impressed by the gorgeous sunsets and other scenic vistas. Kindred Games really wants players to feel like they’re embarking on a life-changing journey filled with, well, swords and magic and stuff, and by the looks of things, I daresay they’ve nailed that.
At the start of the game, you’ll be fresh-off-the-boat at a cozy port, just getting your feet wet in preparation for the adventure that awaits you. Where you go from there is totally up to you. Tirawyn is described as a full-fledged open world, which basically means two things; you can go wherever you want in whatever order you choose, and also, I have to resist the urge to reference that vintage Todd Howard meme about seeing — and subsequently climbing — mountains.
That’s all well and good, but what truly turns my head about Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff is its creators’ emphasis on letting players eke out the sort of fantasy life they love the most. Swashbuckling thrill-seekers are invited to quest to their heart’s content, fighting monsters and scooping up increasingly shiny objects just because they can. But the game is similarly designed to work for those who would prefer a somewhat quieter getaway package; farming and blacksmithing are two equally respectable trades (and as a bonus, you’re less likely to wind up dead, too. At least, I’m assuming that’s the case).
Playing solo is generally my preferred route in life, but the multiplayer here could prove to be this game’s best boon. With the ability to jump in and out of other players’ worlds, I reckon it might be fun to fulfill various roles for one-another. Imagine, for example, that you’re a hardscrabble warrior traveling the countryside to save the good folk from all the bad folk. You swing by town, where your real-life friend fixes up your axe so that you don’t die out there. With its emphasis on cute visuals and relatively casual gameplay elements, I won’t be surprised if Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff becomes a real hit with whole families.
If any of that sounds like a rollicking good time to you, look forward to the Early Access release on September 8th. And check back with RPGFan for more news in the future!