App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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Swing King and the Temple of Bling is a mouthful of a title, especially for the simple arcade puzzle game that it is. In it, players control a monkey that must swing from point to point in an ancient temple, while collecting gold all the way. While the game does escalate into some interesting puzzle challenges, Swing King is definitely a kind of game you've seen before.
Swing King–perhaps unsurprisingly–is a game all about swinging. Levels start with your monkey protagonist being launched into a room to a point that players must tap and hold to grab onto. Once grabbed, the monkey will revolve around the swing point in a circle until you release to get to the next point. If you release your finger at any time while swinging, the monkey will launch in the direction he was facing and he won't stop until he hits something or you tap to grab onto a new point.
The goal of any given room is to get the monkey to an exit, which leads to another room for you to swing through. Doing so often involves avoiding spikes, bumping off walls to change direction. and quickly grabbing and swinging between points.
As you get further into Swing King, the game gets a lot more demanding. There are points where timing is really tight and you can't afford to swing on points for too long or risk dying on spikes or some other hazard.
These sections of Swing King can be immensely satisfying if done right, but sometimes the game's controls get in the way. Tapping and releasing to move the monkey across the screen feels a little awkward, and sometimes it is hard to tell where is the best time to release from the screen to swing in the right direction.
If you happen to die in Swing King, you'll be sent right back to the beginning of the entire game. As you move from room to room though, you always have the option to spend coins or watch and ad to create a checkpoint. This allows you to restart at that point moving forward instead of the entire beginning of the game.
As far as free-to-play schemes go, Swing King's checkpointing system isn't all that bad. That said, the fact that there are also ads that get served up without opting into them disrupts the flow of the game and makes it hard to jump back into after dying.
The bottom line
Swing King and the Temple of Bling has a neat swing mechanic, but it's otherwise a pretty unsurprising puzzle/platformer. If you've played something like Major Magnet before, you know most of what to expect here. Perhaps if the game's swinging felt a bit easier to control or the game's monetization strategy was a little less annoying, the game would feel more special. As it stands now though, Swing King is pretty middling.