'Sword & Sworcery EP' On How Not To Integrate With Twitter

Sword and Sworcery EP

There are a handful of games that have attempted to integrate Twitter in some way. "Uncharted 2" was probably the most flagrant example of how not to do it. After reviewers with early copies entered their Twitter information into the game, their followers were bombarded with a pre-created tweet every single time they finished a chapter. The developer reacted quickly, turning off the feature almost entirely by the time the game launched. Since then, there have been games to attempt it but none have done much beyond creating more Twitter spam for your followers.

Yesterday saw the release of "Sword & Sworcery EP" for the iPad. In the official description on the App Store, the game encourages players to "co-operate with friends via Twitter." That seems to imply that there's some sort of gameplay impact with the Twitter functionality. An intriguing concept.

As it happens, the Twitter functionality is, surprise, more spam for your followers. At many points in the game you'll be presented with vague text about your current situation. For example: "By the side of the old road there was a stone carved with a pair of glyphs in the shape of a sword & a shield." Alongside the text, you're given the option to re-tweet this. And that's exactly what happens. That vague phrase, which means nothing to anyone but you, is sent to all of your followers who scratch their heads and wonder what the hell you're talking about.

It's also followed by the hash-tag, "#sworcery." At best this is an artsy way to share experiences with others who are playing the game. At worst (and in practice), it's shameless guerrilla marketing for a game which already has received plenty of support from the press and fans, and will only serve to antagonize both.

I'm still very early in the game, so if there's some feature I'm missing which actually gives you a reason to send these automated tweets, that might make it slightly more worthwhile. But if not, the folks behind "Sword & Sworcery EP" shouldn't be claiming that they're providing a way to play co-op with friends over Twitter. Unless playing co-op means providing the game with free marketing while annoying your followers at the very same time.

(NOTE: Twitter integration is not forced, so simply ignore the multiple prompts the game shoves in your face and you'll be a-ok. Thankfully, apart from this one feature, I'm enjoying the experience quite a bit.)