Looking to test your hand-eye coordination or while away the time on the train? SWAP is just the game for you. The first game released by local indie game studio Eutragon, SWAP got the 1st Runner Up position in the recent Global Mobile App Summit & Awards 2016, where it was the only game shortlisted from Singapore. Eutragon was founded by 6 Graduates of Singapore Polytechnic’s Games Design & Development course. The members are Tng Bing Rong, Shawn Cheah, Chng Yangda, Jack Kew, Chen Yuyang, and Tan Kehan. The 6-person team also bagged the 1st prize at the VIOPE Game Development World Championships in 2012 with another game, Kindly Ever After, beating over 500 other entries.
This simple game is all about helping the two in-game characters, Squiggle and Butten, collect as many stars as possible. The game uses a simple interface of tapping to swap the character’s positions or merge them together. Players have to navigate Squiggle and Butten through an increasingly difficult gauntlet of obstacles, all the while collecting stars of matching colours.
In addition to matching the stars to the characters’ colours and avoiding obstacles, there are Power-Ups which can be activated to aid the player. Players have to successfully match the special patterns in order to activate the Power-Ups, by making use of the swapping and merging actions. Here is a preview of the gameplay.
Whilst the game mechanics are simple, the gameplay itself is anything but easy. On the first playthrough in the tutorial mode, the game seems easy enough. Once past the first few minutes of gameplay however, the increasing speed of the game makes it more difficult to stay alive, and matching the special patterns required to activate the Power-Ups becomes increasingly challenging.
Be prepared to make the same mistakes over and over as the game progresses. If your hand-eye coordination or reaction speed is lacking, progressing past the first 3 minutes can be quite a challenge. On the flip side, it is incredibly satisfying when you clear a particularly difficult sequence.
As you accumulate more stars and clear more obstacles, two other game modes become available to you, All Obstacles and All Stars. In All Obstacles mode, players aim to avoid obstacles by swapping/merging the characters. If the player is able to dodge the obstacles within their invisible zone, he or she will be able to earn additional bonus points. As the name suggests, All Stars Mode features only stars in the game. However, there are also some stars with Reversal Orbs meant to unweary gamers. Unlike the normal stars, players need to match the colour of the orbs instead of that of the stars, i.e. a yellow star with the blue Reversal Orb will have to be collected by the blue character. The additional challenge of re-adjusting your affixed instincts from previous rounds is just factor that makes this game so different.
With extended gameplay, you will be able to use the collected stars to buy Power-Ups to make the game easier to play. Crystals, which you earn from playthroughs, allow you to customize the game by buying effects or by replacing the default coloured stars with other coloured symbols. Even without purchasing additional Power-Ups, SWAP is easy enough to play for casual gamers and the additional game modes provide a greater challenge for those seeking it. The game’s graphics are easy on the eye and the black background helps to prevent eyestrain even when focusing intensely on the screen. Moreover, the character design is also appealing to both children and adults alike.
This has definitely been one of the more enjoyable new games we’ve played this year. Though it might not seem like much at first glance, give yourself a try and you will know what we are talking about. The only question left is: are you ready to channel your inner space kitten?
SWAP is now available for all Android users on the Google Play Store with a port for the App to the iOS and Windows in the future. The paid version of the App costs $0.99 and comes with an extra 50,000 stars and 50 crystals to begin with, allowing new players to customize the game from the start. For those disinclined to pay, there is also a free version, without the aforementioned perks, which contains advertisements.
For more information on Eutragon, visit their website here.