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Developer: 10Tons

Price: $.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Swingworm is a polished twist on the level-based puzzler that features worm physics. Yes, worms do seem to follow laws all their own, at least in this game. With beautiful graphics and a GUI that oozes wormy refinement it’s a distinctive new addition to an almost worn-out genre.

There is a backstory of sorts – our worm is actually a very springy caterpillar that can clamp onto foresty things with both his jaws and a spiky bum. He dreams of seeing the moon one day, so he climbs ever higher in the Whispering Woods to get a clear view. But, nasty Big Bug, with his evil minions, stand in his way. The game follows the standard progression formula: each world has a series of levels, and successful completion of one unlocks the next. There is also the requisite three-star system for rewarding fast completion. Hitting bad bugs inflicts damage and time penalties.

Players swing the caterpillar’s top or bottom end, trying to latch onto leaves, logs, etc. The caterpillar must eat all the berries scattered on each level to progress, which for unexplained reasons, makes Big Bug scram. An organic elevator opens to hoist the caterpillar upwards towards our next challenge and his dream.

Ok, so it stretches credulity, but it also stretches the mental muscles on harder levels, when obstacles and additional elements come into play. There are also reward levels, where our wiggly hero can break open boxes and collect eggs within. Not especially seasonal, but a nice distraction.

10Tons describes this as a platform game, but the levels aren’t linear. One of my chief complaints, since the caterpillar does not move ever forwards, is that the whole board is not visible at once; it takes an often cumbersome gesture to move around and see where all the fruits are hiding. I’d much prefer a pinch-to-zoom option. That said, the boards look hand-drawn and the art everywhere is wonderful. Also, the game provides helpful hint arrows to point swingers in the right direction.

As for gameplay it takes a bit more thought and patience than, say, Angry Birds, but the swinging mechanics are something different, and I found it more satisfying once I got used to flicking the poor creature around. The game will only benefit from more variety in the challenges, however, if it wants to be a top-tier gaming app.

Whether 10Tons, a company located not far from Rovio home of Angry Birds, who have had several hits with titles like Grim Joggers sand Azkend, will turn Swingworm into the next Finnish sensation is as yet undetermined. Still, for anyone who enjoys an action-puzzler, but is tired of variations of the same themes over and over, this is a solid pick up with a lot of promise.


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