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Swordship's 1.1 update is a great excuse to get this snazzy dodge 'em up on your radar

Ship shape

People might have been sleeping on Swordship, which is as unfortunate as it sounds. It’s a dodge ‘em up about luring enemies into attacking each other while swooshing down waterways. Clean, is the word that comes to mind: a purity of purpose. Everything looks and sounds exactly like it should, while making little metal chumps shoot other little metal chumps is a fundamental joy.

It launched last December, but developers Digital Kingdom just shipped a 1.1 update that adds a new mode, overhauls unlock progression and tweaks loads more. There’s a free demo, if you don’t want to take the full plunge.

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I’d recommend beginning with beginner mode, because this is one of those ‘one hit and yer gone’ games. Enemies (planes, mines, turrets) aim at you with faint red circles or lines, then pause before following through with an actual salvo. That’s your cue to dodge or dive out of the way, having hopefully lined up their attack so it hits another enemy. Diving underwater while two turrets take each other out at the same time is a particular treat. It’s like Into The Breach, but less chess and more dodgeball.

Veteran Swordshipsmen might be interested in the new Arranged mode, a weekly run with its own scoreboard where every player will see exactly the same enemies. It’s aimed at perfectionists, giving folks as many attempts as they like to rack up a highscore.

“Readability” is the other main theme of the update, both by way of splitting unlocks into neater categories and tweaks to play itself. You’ll find enemies have clearer attacks, your ship more visible when it dives, and a new freeze frame cam that kicks in at the moment of your death so you know exactly what did you in. You can check out the other changes for yourself over on the update page.

Swordship is available on Steam, GOG and the Epic Games Store. It’s currently on sail, but only on Epic, for £12/$14/€14.

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