Why innovation? Simple controls that are unique to this game. But I’ll say it right away: buy Sway! You’ll no doubt have a blast playing it. The game runs for $4.99 — not cheap compared to some, but ReadyFireAim and Illusion Labs have put together a game that plays to the iPhone’s strengths and is easily worth the money. Let me explain how it works.
Sway is simple: your job is to get a character across a level by controlling its arms. Your right thumb is the right hand of the character, and your left thumb the opposite. When your finger is pressed down on the screen, the character’s respective hand grabs onto a solid object immediately. By holding your thumb down and sliding it to the left and right, the monkey character’s motions will follow. In this way, by alternating thumbs and swinging side to side, you try and emulate a monkey and make your way through the levels. Levels are finished by reaching the final goal, but along the way you can collect stars to make the journey a bit more difficult. At the end of each level, you are given a rating based on your collection and time performance.
It’s this simple swinging side to side that’s executed so well. Sway’s controls respond perfectly, and you always feel totally in control of your character. Controls like these are very simple to understand, but mastering them does take time and comes with an appropriate learning curve. You will die a lot as you get a hang of the game. These frustrations are never at the game though; falls always feel like a mistake that you made, rather than the game’s fault. Sometimes a jump seems in reach, but once you launch in the air it’s obviously a bit too far. Sometimes you’ll just want to try spinning the monkey wildly and let it fly through the level and see how far you can end up. In the end, once you begin to master the controls, the game feels at its best when you manage to get in a groove and swing through a level swiftly.
Sway comes with several characters that you can unlock, each with a unique advantage. The game sports 15 levels of varying difficulty. Levels change it up by throwing in elements such as moving platforms, spikes, and even moving walls. Gameplay always stays fresh. The beginning levels will make you feel like a champ and not take long at all. But as you progress, levels become a lot longer than you would expect and need to incorporate at least a couple of checkpoints before you make it to the end. These longer levels could run you around 10 minutes each, depending on how much exploring and collecting you plan to do before finishing a level.
At the time of this writing, Illusion Labs are putting out an update to Sway that includes ten new levels. The developer has also mentioned that they are thinking about including a level editor in a future update of Sway. It’s support after a game is released like this that needs to be commended.
Sway could not be done on another platform. It needs touch to work. And its simple controls and fun gameplay come together perfectly in this package. Sway, published by Illusion Labs, is a must buy. Keep an eye out for both Illusion Labs and ReadyFireAim as both are proving to be worth following in iPhone gaming.