My favorite part of PAX East is wandering the show floor in between appointments looking for games we aren’t already booked to play. The first game we stumbled on this year was Dad By The Sword by RocketCat Games.
We were quickly drawn in after catching a glimpse of the trailer they had looping on the main TV, which features one of the developer’s real-life dads sporting a Reagan/Bush shirt, wielding a giant claymore, and chain smoking. I was sold after hearing the small crowd around the booth laugh at the person playing as they experienced sword fatigue (moments in the game where your weapon goes completely limp). Don’t worry though, it happens to most dads…
The story, we’re told, is of your dad as he progresses through the levels of Hell to find the Infinity Nut, a magical item that will grant him an endless supply of salted snacks.
Dad By The Sword is a sword fighting dungeon crawler, or as the developer describes it, “Dark Souls meets Heavy Rain meets Octodad.” Like most things my dad tells me, I don’t fully get the reference. I have the feeling they’re mocking me, but I just want their acceptance so I’m willing to play along.
The combat focuses mainly on aiming and timing, making sure to hit enemies in weak points not covered by armor while also avoiding their attacks. My alternate attack started out as a swift boot kick that interrupted and knocked enemies over, but this can be replaced by other dad-favorite items like bowling balls and lawn mowers.
I also occasionally found rooms which offered up a choice of three dad perks, known as “derks.” When I died, I was forced to start from scratch, losing all those precious derks. The levels are randomly generated and assigned in a random order to keep each run feeling a little different from the last.
“It’s Dark Messiah meets Skyward Sword meets your dad meets Spelunky.” RocketCat’s words, not mine.
Dad By The Sword is still in development, with an expected release date of early 2017, but they’re off to a great start with what they showed us this year. Part of what’s left on the to-do list is filling the game with even more embarrassing dad jokes and puns.
Here’s hoping we’re all not left permanently scarred.