Being a young male in a fantasy realm is perilous. If you’re handy with a blade and demonstrate even the slightest inclination to set off on an adventure, chances are you’ll be called up to save the realm from certain death at some point. Having spiky hair is also a bonus/hazard.

The hero of Swordigo is no exception. When his elderly master is slain by evil forces, the townspeople select him - rather than the legions of burly, battle-hardened warriors - to bring peace to the land.

Swordigo is a side-scrolling action title peppered with RPG and platforming elements. You gain experience for each defeated enemy, and you can use ranged spells, call upon items to restore health, and so on.

Live by the sword, die by the sword

The game’s simplistic interface allows a surprising degree of control, and the responsive nature of the lead character makes the action flow smoothly and with the bare minimum of frustration.

Two buttons control direction, and double-tapping either of these will cause your hero to break into a sprint. You can press the 'jump' button twice for a double-jump, and the 'attack' and 'magic' commands are self-explanatory.

The flash of the blade

There’s a pleasing amount of variety in the level design - while all of the stages naturally subscribe to the traditional fantasy setting, you’ll find yourself fighting through dark forests, dank castles, and spooky citadels. There are also boss enemies to face off against, many of which will test your skills to the limit.

With just under ten hours of gameplay on offer, Swordigo is a generous offering - our only real grumble is that the visuals could be better. Although the developer has clearly attempted to pay tribute to the 16-bit classics of old, more detail would improve the experience.

If you're a fan of action-RPGs like Nintendo’s Zelda (specifically the side-scrolling NES instalment Adventure of Link) then Swordigo is almost certain to find a place in your heart.