The best iOS game this week - Sword of Xolan
If Sword of Xolan were an actor it would be William H. Macy – not handsome or charismatic enough to be a star, but utterly likeable and dependable and always a pleasure to behold.
This 2D pixel-art platformer from indie developer Alper Sarikaya sees you embarking on a quest to rescue a group of villagers that have been abducted by the demon Borzandar and left in cages across 30 short stages.
You jump around, attack various species of monsters with your sword, throw fireballs, avoid pitfalls, and generally do all of the things you did in platform games 30 years ago, but on a touchscreen.
There are a couple of Rayman Legends-like twists thrown in – every time you collect 1500 coins you get a card that gives you a boost or a buff, and there's a challenge mode that sees you destroying objects against the clock.
But for the most part this is a very conventional platform game, full of conventional action, and patrolled by conventional monsters.
What makes it stand out is its sheer playability. The virtual buttons are responsive and large enough that you can forget about them entirely, giving you an easy sense of control often lacking in touchscreen action games.
Sword of Xolan won't change your life, and you'll forget about it pretty quickly once you've played it, but I defy you not to enjoy this cheerful William H. Macy-style platformer for the duration of its playing time.