Swapquest is a puzzle RPG hybrid set in a fantasy world. It’s unique take on player mobility through its tile swapping mechanic is it’s main selling point and attempt to be different that everything else on the market.
Release date: August 21, 2017
Approximate Size: 273.62 MB
Genre: Casual RPG
Developed by Rebusmind
Published by Rebusmind
Reviewed on Xbox One; also available on Playstation 4 and PC.
Swapquest has a fairly simple plot and it’s the typical fantasy adventure one that still reigns supreme to this day but began since the beginning of gaming. The kingdom of Aventana is under attack by demons, referred to as The Horde, and your father, the King, sends you out to find the sword that can defeat this evil. It’s your typical premise and the set up is delivered in the first thirty seconds of the game with two text boxes.
Before the story begins, you are given the option to choose your character and class. As a male you play as Wilbert and as a female you play as Wilma, both siblings with very little information on their personalities in their character descriptions. You can not customize them which has become a staple in fantasy RPGs but their design is simplistic and nice. From what I gather, class don’t really do much besides change some stats around and I feel as if they left a lot of potential off the table with that.
Let me start by saying that I have never played any game even remotely close to this and this is big praise. In the ever growing field of game development, with the completion rising every day, very few times to we see anything revolutionary. Ideas often become too ambitious or aren’t executed well or are too convoluted. Thankfully, this is not the case with Swapquest. The game is unique, and addictive, and I found myself losing time playing it.
On the over world map, you click where it is you would like to go next, this represents the level select screen so to speak. After completing a level, you may return to it to get a better score or more loot. Each level lasts under ten minutes and they give you side objectives, you could look at them as side quests, such as complete a level in four minutes. It’s unexpected and a nice addition. Unexpected because this game doesn’t have that much depth so it’s nice to see them try and make the game challenging. That’s the thing with this game, probably it’s biggest flaw, it’s too easy.
After selecting a level, you are tasked with moving your character across the map. This is the most you will do in this game, maneuvering the world so your character can proceed forward. The entire 16bit inspired map is broken into squares like a checker board and you swap the square tiles to create a path. As you move away from the thick fog, representing The Horde, you encounter enemies and items. Treasure chests have loot and you level up where as enemies are attacked automatically by being in close proximity, all of this the game measures based on your stats. Entering into this game expecting Breath Of Fire or Dragon’s Quest is going to leave you sorely disappointed.
It lacks the complex mechanics and the deep story the aforementioned games offer and that’s not its target audience. The game aims to provide a very simplistic, relaxed, RPG. It’s not an adventure but a lite experience. To reduce the monotony, you do get to engage in boss fights. These were surprisingly refreshing as there is more to just getting close to them to auto attack but also have some strategy to the fight. One such fight has you taken projectiles shot from the boss and moving the tile so that it explodes in its proximity, rendering it temporarily disabled, and from there you travel to auto attack. The slow speed in which your avatar travels adds to the stress because you may encounter a time where you don’t make it in time.
The game offers two player coop but it doesn’t really add anything to the experience. Your doing the same thing as you would alone but it’s inclusion is puzzling as it makes an already easy game even easier. It does allow you to enjoy a relaxed experience with another person, a great game to use to bring someone into gaming, like, say, your grandmother.
I will say I did enjoy using the coop feature as a means to compete with my sister and wife as to see who could defeat the boss first or, at least, deliver the final blow. It’s not much but it did make things more enjoyable.
The graphics remind me of Pokémon on the Nintendo handhelds and I quite enjoyed them. It brings back fond memories. The game looks great and I didn’t encounter any hindrances of any kind. It serves its purpose in emulating the look from games of prior eras and it could easily sit well besides them. It would have been nice if it had an identity of its own and instead of making me wish I was playing Pokémon instead, it could have had an art style that only reminded me of Pikachu’s adventures.
The sound in this game is the weakest aspect of it by far. It’s as if they took the most generic melody and sound effects available and used them. Candy Crush and Clash Royale offer a better soundtrack and effects than this game and that says a lot. I’m not sure if they didn’t have a budget for the music or didn’t have enough time but it’s vastly apparent that this area did not receive the same love and care as the rest of the game.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this entire game was made in RPG maker but even that adds more that what this game has. To be blunt, this game should probably have never left mobile unless they were able to add something substantial to the console player. Console players, at the same asking price, can get games with one hundred times the length and content. I applaud the developer for taking the risk but feel it was ill advised and makes the game ill fated.
It is an enjoyable experience if you take it as it is and it looks great. Combat, or lack thereof really, leaves the player unsatisfied and the game is far too easy. The swapping tile mechanic is a unique enough feature and enjoyable, as were the little challenges presented during the levels. Boss fights were fun and their designs were enjoyable but the sound of this game is generic and horrendous. The game is available on mobile for almost a third of the price on console and I’d imagine, if you had to have this game, that would be the better deal and version to get.
I still recommend this game for anyone looking for a casual, chill, experience but I would not at this asking price. For ten dollars you can get far more fulfilling experiences that give your vastly more than your money’s worth. Should this go on sale, as close to the mobile versions price as possible, I would give it a go.