In Reaper – Tale of a Pale Swordsman, death carries a huge sword capable of mowing down man and beast alike. He is truly an equal opportunities destroyer.
Reaper is an action role-playing game from Czech studio Hexage. It tells the story of a black-cloaked swordsman who may or may not be first cousin to ol’ Grimmy himself.
The Swordsman awakens on an island that’s being torn apart by a war between magic-slinging natives and resource-hungry tech-wielding Imperial invaders.
The Swordsman isn’t necessarily interested in choosing sides - he just wants to get paid for his work. But it’s hard to step into the middle of a war without getting swept along by one current or another.Forces at war
Reaper’s gameplay is broken up into several quests issued by the natives, the Imperials, and a few stragglers in between. The Swordsman travels between points on the sprawling world map. More often than not, when he reaches his destination he’s pulled into a battle.
Despite a few hiccups, Reaper’s battle system is rip-roaring fun. The Swordsman automatically chops at enemies with his sword as soon as he gets close enough. For every few scrapes he gets in he gains power, represented by a meter at the top of the screen (marked by skulls).
Every skull allows him to pull off one devastating special attack that can potentially take a chunk off the enemy’s health bar. These special attacks include an uppercut (swipe upwards on the screen), an earthquake (swipe downwards while in the air), and a somersault that turns the Swordsman into a whirling blade of death.Chop-chop
Enemies are plentiful in Reaper, and moving down the hordes is super-satisfying, though the fights do offer some groan-worthy moments.
Enemy projectiles fly so thick and fast that dodging sometimes becomes impossible. Foreground hazards also tend to blend in with the background, meaning your energy sometimes drains away for no obvious reason.
Moreover, Reaper is a pretty linear game. You’re pushed around from quest to quest without much say in the matter. Sure, when villagers ask you questions you can fire back a jerk response, but for the most part you’re committed to a straight path.
This locked-down method of travelling can become a problem when you fail a battle scenario and want to move on and/or train at easier levels.
Reaper would benefit from a bit more depth outside of its battles, but it’s unquestionably worth a download for the fights alone. They’re a great way to vent stress after a hard day.
Is it healthy to put on the Reaper’s mask and slay great waves of living beings just to relieve your own frustrations? Who knows - but it's fun.