Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff is a very cute and simple role playing game on the surface but there is definitely more substance to the game than meets the eye.
The game has a charming cartoonish art style, wholesome characters and dialogue, and straight forward action game play. The islanders drink Dizzy Juice, pirates follow rules (three of them to be exact), and the combat is what you expect it to be.
There is more depth to the combat than the game makes obvious. You have multiple viable ways to fight off enemies, including wielding double shields. Yes you heard me correctly, you can wield a shield in each hand. There are multiple ways to fight off enemies, such as dodging, parrying with a shield, or side stepping them completely. It does take a little bit of practice to master these techniques but they do make combat more enjoyable, and more importantly, you won’t die.
Underneath all of that is a surprising amount of substance to the game in terms of the narrative and the lore. Some of the quests are quite fantastic and are solved by thinking outside the box, often to hilarious results. One quest required you to steal a log book from the magistrate in order to prove that he was hoarding money and denying food to the residents. You do this by getting him drunk.
Paying attention to the lore of the game pays off in surprising ways as well. One of the most surprising moments came when I bought an amulet to open up a secret passage way behind a waterfall to obtain a long sought after legendary pirate sword. It definitely felt rewarding after all the hard work chasing it down.
Overall, Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff is a pretty solid role playing game. The art style and characters are wholesome and cute. The combat is simple but has enough depth and nuance to make it enjoyable (double shield people)! The narrative and lore is light but actually impacts the game in surprising ways.
The game is still in early access but the developers seem to be actively updating the game. In a matter of a few days they changed a lot of things that were creating friction for new players trying to get into the game, myself included. The constant addition of new content and listening to player feedback make for a very promising outlook for this game.