|Available In: App Store||Price: $4.99|
I’ll admit to not being much of an avid gamer, even less so on the iPhone. However, I do appreciate it when a game takes advantage of unique controls. I bought a Wii because it was different, and I enjoy learning new ways to become more interactive with games as opposed to those that increasingly use more buttons or different combination of keypad controls. On the iPhone, the use of the touch screen has opened up another genre of gaming, and Sway attempts to “tap” into this area.
Just looking at the opening screen, which resembles a page out a comic book, I knew that this game was going to be special. You have a choice of characters that you will add to as the game progresses. There is a nice instructional video embedded in the game (not the usual link to a website) that the tutorial walks you through the process of swaying in the game. Essentially, you use your two thumbs as the hands of your character. By moving your thumb side to side or in a circular motion, your character will spin and upon release of your thumb, your character will let go and grab onto something only if you press again with your thumb. Once you’re ready to start your game, you can choose from multiple levels, many of which are initially locked, but open up as you gain more experience and complete additional levels. Each level contains a number of stars that you’re supposed to collect, a time goal, and occasionally a “save friend” goal, which ultimately unlocks new characters for you to choose from.
Once you get the hang of Sway, the game is quite amusing and engaging. As opposed to a Super Mario Bros. type game where you’re running and jumping, Sway gets you involved with the touch controls, and although it can be frustrating in the beginning, the early levels are simple enough for you to hone in your swaying skills so that you can proceed to the more challenging levels. A nice feature is that you have an infinite number of lives, meaning you can fall off the screen as many times as you want. Your score is determined by the amount of stars you collect and the time you take to do so. Thus, you could take 10 minutes to complete a stage, and though you won’t be on top of the leader boards anytime soon, you’ll be able to advance to another level. You can repeat levels to improve on your performance (indicated by gold, silver, and bronze ratings), or to attempt a rescue of a friend again.
As mentioned above, the controls on Sway can be frustrating and may not be for certain younger gamers despite looking very friendly to that generation. For example, I thought my cousin (age 11) would love this game, but she’d quickly abandoned the game and seemed to prefer simple bubble popping or puzzle games. As the levels get more challenging, some stages seem to be more frustrating and you end up having to start over many times. However, there are checkpoints in each level, so this helps when the levels get really hard. Although I have not played enough to complete the game, I could see one finishing all of the 25 levels in a reasonable amount of time, though there is always the option of retrying levels to improve on one’s performance.
Overall, Sway has been one of the more enjoyable games that I have reviewed thus far. The game play and controls are refreshing, and the graphics are solid. The sound effects are vibrant, though they can get a bit annoying (you do have the option to turn them off). I haven’t had too many crashes, so the program seems stable. If you’re interested, I recommend trying out the Lite version, and if you like it, you can invest in the full version for $4.99. It’d be nice to get an update with additional levels, but as it stands, Sway is a great game that’s demonstrative of what the iPhone can do for gaming.