App of the Day: Swordigo

If there's a better kind of comfort game than an RPG, I haven't found it. Even at the genre's simplest - as with Swordigo, for example, which is simplicity itself - they offer the warm reassurance that often lurks within a familiar structure, and the series of tidy little pleasures that come with levelling up, unlocking a few new tricks, and opening all those gleaming treasure chests.

Swordigo's so traditional, in fact, that if it was any less cheery it might be a little boring. It keeps you smiling, though, with a guileless and wonderfully primitive PS1-era art style, and real-time combat that crunches along in a blizzard of simple swipe attacks and the odd burst of magic. The village is threatened, your mentor's taken one for the team, and only you can save the world: it's a straightforward setup and it draws you into a straightforward adventure. Dash around, leap from one platform to the next, engage in the odd block puzzle, and hack your way through all manner of storybook beasties. I feel better about things already.

Levelling in Swordigo sees you picking between more health, more mana or stronger attacks, and every now and then you'll get to buy a new item back at the shop, or learn a new spell - a lightning blast, perhaps, or maybe the ability to conjure a fizzy little bomb. They're fun enough in their own right, but they work most appealingly as pace-setters: they feel less like upgrades and more like the simple beats that keep you bouncing down the track from one 2D environment to the next.

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