Oh, dear, oh, dear, I wish I had never seen that filthy sword at all.
–The Once and Future King, T.H. White
If you’re ready to stop wading in the kiddie pool with Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Ninja Gaiden, Battletoads, Cuphead, or Soulsborne baby games, then it’s time to strap on the big boy boots for a game that makes “NES hard” look like a soft pillow with a teddy bear on it. The one who pulls out the sword will be crowned king even has a laborious title, nevermind gameplay. Now I’ve seen my fair share of blisters and bruises from gaming, but I’ve had fewer cramps binging all night at Big John’s All-You-Can-Eat Beef Buffet. Seriously, I thought my hand was going to fall off.
You the player are thrust into the role of a wannabe King Arthur, tasked with unsheathing the miracle of the sword in the stone. And whosoever pulleth out that sword from that stone shall rightwise be King of Steam. So grab your mouse, find a spot to click on the sword, hilt, grip, pommel, whatever, and drag. Don’t let go! If you do, the sword will slide back into the stone. You have to hold down your click and keep dragging, keeping your cursor on the sword or it’ll slide down again. I pulled for, like, almost 30 minutes. Sweating. Clenching. Teeth grinding. Thank heaven there’s a pause feature.
It gets even better! When somebody does pulleth the sword from the stone, it gets longer and heavier for the next players. And a ton of people were pulling theirs when I was trying to pull mine. This game is going to be downright unplayable in a week!
But if you do pull out… holy crap. Euphoria.
You get paraded into town on a palanquin to the adoration of the worshiping throngs and the previous king crowns you before getting his own head cut off. You crowd surf. You get married. Game Over. It’s all around a good time. Don’t think it’ll last too long, though. There’s always another sword and another king. You’re literally king for less than a day.
I have no idea how long the sword was when I pulled it up out of that rock but it was stretching up into the stratosphere by the end. This is a really clever idea for a game and it absolutely tests your precision and patience. It’s the best kind of experiment, testing how much you want it in the simplest possible terms. Genius, really. I have never endured a game like this before. It did such a number on my hand. My fingers were downright shaking. My vascularity is insane now but I can’t imagine ever playing The one who pulls out the sword will be crowned king again.
But to prove to your friends and acquaintances that you’re valuable? Worth it. Now there’s no denying that I am The Rightful King™ and not just a filthy peasant.
Red formerly ran The Well-Red Mage and now serves The Pixels as founder, writer, editor, and podcaster. He has undertaken a seemingly endless crusade to talk about the games themselves in the midst of a culture obsessed with the latest controversy, scandal, and news cycle about harassment, toxicity, and negativity. Pick out his feathered cap on Twitter @thewellredmage or Mage Cast.