REVIEW: King Swing

Most arcade titles possess a simple charm. They can operate solely around the same core mechanic or element, loop in repetition and / or challenge, toss in a high score counter as a measuring stick, and call it a day. Tremendous successes can be had from the smallest and unlikeliest of ideas. King Swing (80 MSP) realizes as much, and attempts to harness the untapped excitement (?) of a big hairy mammal swinging from outcrop to outcrop, avoiding the piranha-infested waters below.

There are three modes present. Endless (a set amount of lives and unlimited ropes), Time Attack (you’re given one minute to get as far as you can), and Ropes (ten swings to cover as much ground as possible). The options are appreciated, though all three settings boil down to the same formula— swinging for distance. Oh, Endless mode sports a bird you can hitch a brief ride on. Day and night versions of the same stage exist. That’s the extent of King Swing’s variety. Which, as an arcade game, would be fine, though beyond the first few minutes of gorilla-ian intrigue, the novelty of swinging begins to show cracks.

Your momentum while transitioning, too, is easily broken. It’s not terribly hard work to get swinging again, although the overall flow does suffer for it. And in a game built entirely on movement speed, it’s troubling to see yourself punished time and time again for going fast. The more speed you have behind you, the more likely you are to miss a rock or find yourself landing in a ‘no man’s land’… er, ‘no monkey’s land’, of open space with no nearby grips. I almost cringed whenever I got decent speed or height on my swings, knowing on the way down I’d have maybe one or two quick chances to latch onto a cliff before hitting the drink.

King Swing - Screen

Nature doesn’t work this way, but it’d be cool if it did.

This kind of counter-intuitiveness will keep most players from immediately enjoying the game. Yes, your swinging skill and distance achieved will improve the longer you spend with it, though the absence of any lasting thrill or additional wrinkles to the gameplay hurts its longevity. To be fair, there are global leaderboards for each mode. This extends the game’s worth far longer than it would have without them. Still, it’s hard to get too excited over climbing the lists when the reason for being there has worn out its welcome so quickly.

Strictly speaking on the content, King Swing feels like a proof of concept idea more than a completely fleshed-out release. I’d imagine this eliciting a few chuckles on someone’s smartphone, something to dull the wait for a bus or train, but on a console, its lack of any real meat is glaring. The simplistic charm doesn’t hold up. As such, most everything that can be gleaned from the game can be accomplished in the span of its eight minute trial. I’d start and end with that.

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Review on The Indie Mine

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18 thoughts on “REVIEW: King Swing”

  1. I am KITKATGIRLUS… NUMBER 1 in the WORLD for ENDLESS RUN… cant touch this neer neer neer neer…neer neer…neer neer….cant touch this…

    1. Yup.. its filling up. I’ve enjoyed this game a lot. I’m the guy that gets kicked out of arcades for cleaning machines out of their prizes so I enjoy the leaderboards. Its fun fun fun

    2. Sounds like you got your dollar’s worth, for sure. 🙂 Leaderboards can mean all the difference for a game’s longevity, so long as people continue to support the game.

  2. Thanks for the comments. I am the dev responsible for turning the concept into a game. One of the difficulties of creating a game you would typically see on mobile, is well…just that. Getting a physics based rope swinging game working on consoles was a unique challenge and one that we spent a large amount of time refining. We do plan to go forward with the game, or something like it. However, the new edition will feature more modes, other gameplay mechanics and will be all-around better suited for a console. Thanks for the feedback!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to reply and especially for taking the criticism so well. 🙂 I know it’s not easy to get a game up and working in general, let alone the physics-based stuff and making something continuously fun to play. I’m glad to hear you’ll be refining it further and adding more to the next game, whatever form it takes. I look forward to seeing it.

    2. And thanks for providing an honest review – we need more people like you reviewing indie games. All the feedback has been great, and we see plenty of ways how we can take our concept and develop it further.

    3. Flattery will get you everywhere 🙂 I appreciate it.

      I’ll also mention that if the next project’s going to be on XBLIG as well, keep the site in mind. I can always run a preview article with a trailer, screenshots, info, etc., once you’re closer to release.

    4. As a reviewer, thanks to you and other developers like you for being receptive to constructive criticism. While most developers are personable, a significant minority just rage (and in some cases accuse the reviewer of outright lying) if you say anything negative in a review, so it’s always nice to see someone receive criticism with good grace. You’re an example!

    5. “significant minority”
      LOL I love this combination of words… Makes me think in the 15-35% range where as minority by itself would make me think less than 15%. Thanks Alan! If you don’t mind I will be using this in my job to describe certain aspects of the call drivers we have.

  3. You’ve hit on a crucial distcintion here, between mobile games and console games, that I think some developers don’t identify. A lot of mobile gaming is done, as you said, while waiting for a bus, riding the subway, passing five minutes until your friend arrives for lunch – basically, situations where you would be spending that time sitting there anyway, regardless. You don’t have to stop doing something else in order to play a mobile game for a few minutes at a bus stop.

    Console games are different. They’re in your home and you sit down on your sofa specially to play them instead of doing something else. If you’re going to play a particular game instead of watching a film, going to the pub, cleaning the bath or whatever, then it has to offer more. The competition is stronger, not just from other games but from the rest of life.

    1. Exactly. And while ‘King Swing’ has more replayability than others thanks to the leaderboards, it still suffers from content (lack thereof) fatigue, the same point I tried to get across to the ‘Steel Champions’ Dev. There’s some other issues present here, nothing too serious that derails it, but exactly as you mentioned, console versions need something extra to make the purchase / time seem worthwhile. It’s just one of those unwritten rules.

  4. Thanks for reviewing this before I do. Your leaderboard scores are giving me incentive to keep going. I think my overall opinion will be just a tad more favorable, but leaderboards and primates are a plus for me.

    1. Ha, now that gives me reason to go back and try for better scores. 🙂

      I’m sure others are going to find more there than I did. I think it just wore out its welcome for me. Needed something else, a ‘wild card’ mode or component that would mix things up or add a new dimension to it. Unlockables, awards, something. That, and those rock grips needed to be spaced better / evenly.

    2. You nailed it. It felt like this needed some awards. This is basically an alternative flavor of an endless runner or autorunner or whatever they’re calling that genre these days. And the best examples of that type of game include all of the things you mentioned.

      Have you heard whether they plan to update the game? I tried searching for them through Google but found nothing. Actually, your review came up as the #1 result in my query, so kudos.

    3. Nice. 🙂 The leaderboards were a pleasant surprise, though I’m not sure if they have additional plans. Depends on its reception, I guess. I did communicate with the Dev via email, so I can pass along his email if you’d like.

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