Swords and Sandals 4 Game

Swords and Sandals 4: Tavern Quests - Take-it-in-turns action of the brutal gladiator kind

Lost and Found

As a series, Swords and Sandals has had a particularly curious run, even for a flash game. Its beginnings were functionally simple and visually basic, but the game gained a following due to its no-nonsense, no-frills battles and primitive upgrade system. This remained the case for two games but having player the third title, I came to the conclusion that the decline of the series was at hand because this third offering was cluttered, needlessly overcomplicated, and it felt as if it was simply trying too hard. So, Swords and Sandals 4: Tavern Quests seems to be the currently-final title in the series so far, and I’ll admit that the experience has somewhat pulled the series back from the brink of descending into an utter shambles. The turn-based gameplay remains untouched but in an oddly effective twist, there is now a semblance of a story mode that takes a board-game format, dice and all! This U-turn of format as well as redemption in quality and worth makes the game well worth a second look.

Your Turn

Developer Fizzy appear to have taken the term “turn-based” to the next level with a story mode that unfolds like a board game. Effectively, after you have chosen and customised your hero, you enter into a tavern where you choose from different boards, after which you must embark on an adventure by taking it in turns with your opponent to roll the dice; you advance over the terrain with the number of steps corresponding to the number on the die, encountering mini-games, gold, items, and battles along the way.

Of course, battles are still effectively fought in the same way as always by taking it in turns with your opponent and using the buttons on screen to use strong, medium, or quick attacks as well as taunt your opponent and rest to recover HP. This has always been the staple of the Swords and Sandals games and is the reason that I, as well as thousands of fans worldwide, keep returning to the brutal action time after time.

Newly Heroic

In a revolutionary twist for the Swords and Sandals Series, you can now choose your class of fighter from a selection of four, each with their own beneficial properties that differ according to class. The fighter can wield two weapons at once and deals 25% more melee damage; the Mage regenerates magikca (i.e. this game’s version on the classic ‘mana’ concept, though they’re not fooling anyone with that name); the Paladin can also wield two weapons and has increased health points, while the Bard has increased capabilities with his taunts, which I can only assume means that he is effectively going to wear down enemies with poetic verse, which is interesting since I’ve yet to see someone get taken down by means of iambic pentameter. These classifications of hero are pretty much lifted from the RPG format which often includes these classes of character for you to choose at the start, though working it into a turn-based battle game is something of a novelty around these here internet parts.

A  Return to Glory?

It actually saddened me that this game’s predecessor almost had me wash my hands of the series, but in a move I didn’t see coming, Swords and Sandals 4: Tavern Quests from 3RDsense has recovered remarkably well after its fall from both grace and my favour. The turn-after-turn battles actually go remarkably well with the board-game progression of the story, and the applying of attributes to your gladiator still provides an incentive to continue playing long after the point where common sense said you should stop. The mini-games don’t really do anything for me to be honest, but this game has surprised me by effectively being one of the best games in the series so far.