Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Mobile Gaming: Swingin’ Through Sway

Meet Lizzy. Shes pretty cool.

Meet Lizzy. She's pretty cool.

Sway even comes witha  comical backstory.

Sway evens comes with a comical backstory.

Have you played Sway yet? If not, you really should. Right now, most of the games available for the iPhone/iPod Touch aren’t particularly innovative. They’re ports or adaptations of standard games and genres, with controls modified to make more sense when the only tactile input you’ve got is a touch screen. A few games, though, are absolutely perfect for the platform – they just make sense with touch controls, and would feel awkward any other way. Sway is one of those games.

The title is aptly descriptive – you control Lizzy, a lizard that looks nothing so much like a rag or sock doll with arms and legs. It’s a platformer of sorts, except you don’t run, hop, or bounce your way through the levels – you swing, or “sway.” Get it? Yeah, I know, that was bad. Anyway, you use your thumbs to control the arms, and use momentum and some basic physics to guide your character through the levels. Keep your right thumb on the screen, for example, and your character’s right arm will hold onto whatever platform you’re on (assuming you’re on one). Move your thumb back and forth, and your character moves like a pendulum around the point where your arm is holding on. Let go, and the character swings through the air.

Falling is bad.

Falling is bad.

Repeat this multiple times, and soon enough you’ll have some semblance of controlled movement, albeit slightly erratic. As you move through the level, you try to collect stars, avoid obstacles and traps, and reach checkpoints, eventually completing the level. There’s something of a time-trial element built in, too – you won’t die for progressing slowly, but fast times yield bronze, silver, and gold medals based on your speed and how many stars you collected.

The end goal is to progress through all the levels, rescuing Lizzy’s friends along the way by completing certain difficult levels. As you rescue each friend, they become playable characters, and each has some sort of defining characteristic that changes gameplay. The first rescued friend, Monkee, moves more slowly, but has longer arms, making it easier to reach things.

Monkee's got those long, long arms.

Sway isn’t a particularly long game, with twenty levels in all, but the difficulty increases somewhat quickly, so it’s a bit of a challenge (at least, it was for me). Relatively short levels and automatically saved progress make this game ideal for the short spurts of play that most people adhere to when using the iPhone/iPod Touch platform. Sway brings to mind games like Super Monkey Ball, partially because of the gameplay and partially because of the cartoony, goofy graphical style. It sells for $4.99, a good price for the quality and level of enjoyment you’ll get from this title.

Save Friend!

Save Friend!

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April 27, 2009 - Posted by | Gaming | , , , , , , ,

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