Reaper: Tale of a Pale Swordsman was originally a free mobile game, and should have remained that way. It is a long, difficult slog no sensible person should pay money to suffer through. Despite sporting a few bits of humorous dialogue and solid combat, Reaper quickly becomes monotonous. I invested 14 hours into it, doing precisely the same thing from the first minute to the last. The only noticeable change was that Reaper became astronomically more difficult and less fun as time progressed. Honestly, these types of games contaminate the market and need to disappear altogether.

The story revolves around the pale rider Death, who wanders into a kingdom seeking mercenary work. He discovers that the Imperial Army and the various native tribes inhabiting the area have been at war for years. Like any scumbag who knows how to turn a profit, he plays both sides against each other. While working with either side, you start getting hints that an ominous demonic presence is returning after millenia on hiatus, subverting both groups intentions to seize control. It is an entirely predictable and cliché fantasy background, familiar to anyone who has ever read a Tolkien story. Yet, it lacks any of the dramatic weight or fun character interactions his books do. There is no perceptible narrative build-up, with things just happening whenever they want with no rhyme or reason, This is particularly inexcusable given the mountain of text you peel through listening to droning NPCs assign you fetch quests. About the only positive element of the writing are Death’s curt responses to employers, which basically boil down to rude variations of “K THX BYE!” Otherwise the story feels as pointless and bland as anything you would find in a middle school student’s notebook.

Reaper’s lackluster production values are about as commendable. The entire soundtrack consists of two songs, a somber menu theme and battle music laden with xylophone. With how long the game is, these are sure to fatigue your ears immediately. Visually, Reaper doesn’t fare any better than its score. The cutsie aesthetics aren’t very inspired, seeming like a mold of cheap greeting cards you see at the super market. Couple this with the fact that the game runs locked at 30 frames per second, and even the animation starts to feel stiff. Clearly the developer put minimal effort into using personal computers to Reaper’s advantage, opting instead to straight port mobile phone graphics.

Gameplay also feel like it belongs on a phone and not a full-fledged PC, with everything clearly designed for touch controls. Over world traversal involves strict point-to-point movement on a static map. Enemy encounters consist of walking toward enemies and triggering automatic attacks, which build “rage” that can be used for more devastating heavy blows. Using a controller, I felt comfortable, though it barely required much input on my part. In a way, it was like a Zelda II that was tolerable, until the challenge level almost immediately became unfair. After the first third, Reaper becomes a routine of luring overpowered enemies one at a time into a corner and dodging a bullet hell worth of infuriating projectiles. I cannot stress this point enough, the vast majority of Reaper is not even remotely fun, fair, or rewarding. Upon defeating the final boss, I instantly switched off my computer, glad to be done slaughtering leagues of unbalanced enemies and completing mundane fetch quests.

Review: Reaper: Tale of a Pale Swordsman
Do not buy this game. Reaper: Tale of a Pale Swordsman is hardly justified as a free purchase on your mobile device, with its long list of egregious issues. Let independent developers learn from the mistakes that games like Reaper make. So far, it's the worst game I have played this year.
  • Solid combat design
  • Grows tedious very quickly
  • A bland story told through walls of text
  • A repetitive soundtrack that will drive you to madness
3Overall Score
Reader Rating: (21 Votes)
  • Dementor

    To Author,the android is not free’s a locked game with in-app purchases,You need you buy at least full game version to play beyond level 4..

  • FaithTheLegend

    The game is quite nice actually.Dont just play it with a critic feeling.I’ve had the full game and what attracted me mostly is its gameplay and nonlinear story.What if its written on texT?Its better.I give it a 4.5.Its worth buying.