I’m always looking for RPGs to play since it’s my go-to genre, and I also love coming across Game Boy ones since I mostly played Pokemon and Donkey Kong Country growing up on my Game Boy Color. I do enjoy finding new games that are made with GB Studio, so I first saw Swordbird Song: The Iron Owl Tower, a short action-RPG made by Felipe Reinicke (‘freinike’) for the Game Boy, I knew I had to give it a go.
The story of this short but sweet game is that you’re a bird flying on an adventure when you get struck down by a storm and land on an island. Here you come across another bird that gives you a feather sword, and you find yourself on a new journey to try to get off the island by making your way up the iron tower.
The game has some Legend of Zelda vibes as you find the player journeying through the island under the guidance of your bird companion who tells you that you must climb the iron tower to defeat the Owl King that rules the island. But it’s not that easy as you need to make your way through three levels that are filled with puzzles and some enemies you have to get past. The few enemies the game has do vary from each other and have different attacks, like the red ones that will shoot fireballs, the yellow ones that will attack you with swords, and the mini-boss you fight a few times that shoots thunder balls.
I do have to say the graphics look fantastic, with the area and level designs all look stunning. Even the character designs should be put it in the win column.
The controls are simple – the player moves around with the D-pad, attacks with a sword with the B button, talks to other characters with the A button, opens the items menu with Start and opens the map with the Select button.
On one of my days off, I wanted to play something while I was waiting for another game to release later this month, so I picked up Swordbird Song: The Iron Owl Tower to give it a try while I did laundry, and I ended up getting hooked and played it later during the night again to explore the game’s every nook and cranny. Its music, made by Matias Panto (‘VGM_Freak’) also wasn’t bad for a Game Boy game.
This short RPG checked all of the boxes for what I consider to be a must-play game with an interesting story that caught my attention and kept me entertained and wanting to discover everything it had to offer. This is rounded out by decent music, puzzles that were just the right level of challenging and fun, and easy to use controls.
Now, one definite downside this game has is its backtracking. Yes, there’s backtracking, but here it’s not as tedious or long-winded like in some other games I played, such as Final Fantasy VII Remake and Hollow Knight. It’s probably because Swordbird Song is only about an hour long. Although one could always use an overclock to move through the game even faster, but why miss out on the music?
I would definitely recommend Swordbird Song: The Iron Owl Tower, especially to those who are waiting for Gotham Knights or Pokemon Scarlet and Violet to be released and don’t want to pick up a big game. Swordbird Song: The Iron Owl Tower is a small and entertaining game that anyone could pick up and enjoy, especially if they’re fans of The Legend of Zelda and RPGs in general.
Developer: Felipe Reinicke ‘freinicke’
Publishers: Invento Games
Platforms: Game Boy
Release Date: 7th October 2022