Swing King iPhone Review
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When we reviewed Chillingo's other new year title, Catch the Ark, last week we commented that it was a brave publisher who began the year with yet another endless-runner. You might be tempted to say the same thing about Swing King, a star-collecting physics puzzler which owes more than a little to Angry Birds' creature flinging antics. Thankfully, this is another game that brings something new and refreshing to the genre.
A vicious furry sprite has plucked the stars from the night sky, and your challenge is to gather as many of them as possible from each level. Our hero, resembling a cast member from Fury of the Furries with a Furby's face wedged onto it, has sticky and elastic arms which allow him to latch onto certain objects. Pulling back on the little blighter sets up the speed and trajectory for each successive move, but if you fall off the screen you'll have to restart.
Now obviously things aren't that simple, and throughout the game new objects and mechanics are slowly introduced to keep things interesting. You might need to grab hold of a boxing glove that allows you to punch through walls, for example. There are sticky green globules to be picked up which allow you to place a graspable object wherever you wish. Using these upgrades and others, you'll have to very carefully navigate the dangers of each level, of which there are many.
Deadly critters roam the screen and will force a restart should you make even the slightest contact with them. Certain graspable objects can be moved to create a new path through the level, while spiked platforms spell doom for any wayward shots. In imagination, design and eccentricity, Fling King certainly makes a refreshing impact on the physics puzzle genre.
To make things even more interesting, those stars you're collecting are tallied up for each set of levels. Once you've unlocked enough of them, you can take on the mean sprite who's causing all of this mischief in a boss fight. These aren't particularly complex affairs, but challenge you to work through a series of small face-offs, grabbing a punching glove and giving the monster a good bop in the eye. They are entertaining though, and do a good job of breaking up the repetition and making you feel as though you're making meaningful progress through the game.
There are only a few things that caused us the occasional headache during our time with Swing King. It takes a while to get accustomed to the grabbing positioning and limitations as you fly around the screen, and it was some time before we worked out for ourselves how to move around the screen and view the challenge ahead clearly. There's also more than a little luck required if you're to collect every star, and that may frustrate you more than it challenges.
Still, you have to take your hat off to developer Zoink for doing something refreshingly different with the physics puzzle genre. Irreverent, eccentric, and with enough challenge to keep even the most accomplished Angry Bird expert on their toes, Swing King's 90-plus levels represent a dollar very well spent.
What's Hot:A colorful and challenging physics puzzler with a generous selection of well-designed levels.
What's Not:There are moments of frustration, often caused by poor luck rather than failed execution.