Most role-playing games, be they on Facebook, iOS, computer or console, cast the player in the role of a conquering hero gradually building up in power and amassing an arsenal of weapons with which to take on some sort of impending evil onslaught. It’s rather rare that players get the chance to see life through the eyes of a non-heroic character like a shopkeeper in one of these fantasy worlds, but that’s exactly the scenario upon which Doremi Star’s Sword Quest is based.
Players are cast in the role of a rookie smith tasked with fulfilling a variety of weaponry orders while simultaneously ensuring they have a steady income stream with which they can acquire more raw materials for crafting. The basic flow of gameplay follows players purchasing raw materials from the in-game store, arranging them on their crafting table, using an ever-expanding selection of hammers on the raw materials to affect their quality, unveiling the finished product and then either giving it to a customer or selling it for profit. For the majority of the time, the player will produce standard equipment, but as their “expertise level” with a specific material increases, they will become more and more likely to produce “Epic” items. These are higher quality, have custom graphic representations and are worth considerably more money. Three identical Epic items can also be “fused” together to produce a Legendary item, too, which is worth even more money and also unlocks a variety of comic book pages.
Alongside the core crafting gameplay, players are also able to take ownership of their workshop by purchasing decor items. Purchasing an entire “set” of these provides both an in-game trophy and a bonus to the player’s abilities. It also allows their workshop to have a distinctive appearance.
Sword Quest is a slow-paced game about experimentation. There is a lot of waiting around for materials to be prepared and swords to finish being constructed. While waiting for these real-time activities to complete, players can visit the workshops of any friends who are playing and assist them with the crafting process by using their hammers on their friends’ projects. The more friends a player has, the greater the potential bonus to the item’s quality and subsequent selling price.
The trouble is, the waiting periods for materials to prepare and swords to finish construction is so long that early progress in the game feels painfully slow, and the very limited resources with which the player begins means that there is not a lot to do in the early game. This means that following the initial tutorial, which demonstrates the use of several premium items that can speed the whole process up, those players seeking faster-paced gameplay or instant gratification may find themselves a little disappointed. Those willing to invest their time and patience into the game, however, will find a deep crafting experience that encourages experimentation.
It seems that Doremi Star is aware that there is not really enough to the game to keep players with short attention spans occupied, however, as the company has bold plans for the future.
“We are working on a big expansion for this game,” explains Alex Chiang, president and co-founder of the developer. “The biggest part of the expansion is our ‘Adventure’ system, where our players will be able to have an avatar that equips the swords they made and fight different monsters in different dungeons with their friends.”
No date has yet been given for when this expansion will arrive. As the game stands, it’s a deep, original title somewhat different from typical social game fare, its production values are high and its art is designed in such a manner to appeal to both men and women. The slow pace of the game in its early stages makes it something of a niche interest, however, which may limit its success and profitability in the long term — at least until the “Adventure” expansion arrives to give players a bit more to do, anyway.
Sword Quest currently has 130,000 monthly active users and 20,000 daily active users. You can follow its progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.
An interesting original game that, in its current form, doesn’t provide players with enough to do to keep them interested.