Swingaling, the newest title from Pocket Monkey Games (Sparta, Champion Archer), flies onto the App Store today for just 99 cents. The game is a side-scrolling, get the furthest distance style game with very simple controls, offering easy pick up and play gaming.
You take on the role of Swingaling (a cute little furry ball-like marsupial with a curly tail and a stretchy arm that would make even Plastic Man jealous). Swinging on trees, you must travel as far as you can through the forbidden jungle whilst avoiding contact with the odd nefarious beasties that will most certainly get in your way, lest your journey will be brought to an abrupt end. To control Swingaling, you merely tap (and hold down) on a tree branch in front (or in back) of you and he will stretch out his arm and grab it and start swinging. Let go, and he will let go of the branch and fly through the air, tap (and hold) on another branch and repeat to keep swinging, progressing toward the right side of the screen. Your current distance is displayed in the bottom of the screen and the goal is to get as far as you can. Timing is key to maintaining a good momentum and height. It will take a bit of practice and luck to get down the proper cadence. If you swing too far toward the bottom of the screen or hit one of the evil creatures, then it’s game over. Swing up and out through the top of the screen for some creature-free flying, but re-entry can be quick and you will need to be too, if you want to catch a branch on the way back down.
Swingaling’s graphics are gorgeous, and it’s obvious that the Pocket Monkey team put a good deal of effort into creating something that would appeal to all age groups. Every character, even the bad ones are adorable…heck even the name is cute! The crisp scenery in the background moves smoothly with Swingaling as he hurls himself forward through the forbidden jungle. There is no in-game music, but the sound effects, while sometimes subtle, add nice ambiance and audible hints as to when and what type of creature will be coming into view soon. We highly recommend you play with the sound effects enabled. These audible cues may just help you break into the top 10. Speaking of “Top 10”, this game has full OpenFeint support for Global Leaderboards and Achievements. It also has a challenge via email feature as well.
Consider yourself warned, Swingaling is highly addicting, with a defcon 2 level of “just one more try” game play. Although, this actually also leads us to our first minor gripe. Playing as many games (all in a row) as we did, you are bound to keep beating your old high scores. Unfortunately, when you get a new (local) high score, the name field does not default to the last name that was entered, it’s always blank by default. So we had to keep re-entering our name, delaying us from immediately trying again. It got to the point where we just left the name blank, figuring that the Global Leaderboard score was what we really cared about. We should also note that we did experience several crashes while playing the game, but all occurred during the first swing of a game, so they were not too disruptive. We have notified the developer, but they had not experienced and such crashes themselves, so YMMV.
Swingaling will offer many hours of fun and frustration (in a good way), especially with the following exciting updates either planned or already in development:
1. “Coo-Coo for Coconuts!” (In Development) Allows you to throw coconuts to destroy the baddies.
2. “Shrooms of the Loom.” (Planned) Bounce off of toadstools Mario-Style!
3. “Power to the Peeple!” (Planned) Grab power ups along the way to keep you going!
Despite the occasional crashes and our minor gripe about the high score name field, we feel that Pocket Monkey Games has created a fantastic new IP with excellent expansion potential and definitely recommend picking up Swingaling.