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Actually better than you assume it’d be! Fancy that!

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    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    Actually better than you assume it’d be! Fancy that!

    Every now and again I like to take a break from "AAA" games and settle in with a smaller title (read: shorter indie game). It helps when that title has rather easy trophies and can be bought for pocket change, which is exactly what I got out of "SwapQuest". However, indie titles are often questionable buys at best, especially when you see them for extremely cheap (I paid $1 for this title), so after playing through the game completely let’s go over everything you can expect out of "SwapQuest"!

    OK, let’s start off with the story You are the Prince (or Princess… your choice) of Aventana which seems peaceful until a demonic horde starts to invade. This horde is comprised of a black fog and you need to go find a legendary sword to defeat it and save your kingdom while your parents sacrifice themselves to hold it back.

    And… that’s it. Yeah, there’s not much going on in the way of "story" here. You have a nigh-unstoppable evil that has been quelled in generations past that’s returned and now you need to collect special crystals and a sword to save the land once more. The very definition of generic, so you’re definitely not picking up this game for a good tale.

    Once the game starts (and after picking a gender) you’ll be prompted to pick a class. I started out as the thief, but you can be a warrior, cleric or a couple of other common fantasy classes. Your class dictates your abilities and other things (for example, my thief had a dog that picked gems up for me). As you play through the game, you will level up and "class change", which gives you two new classes and two new abilities for whatever class you pick. A really cool feature in my opinion, but keep in mind there’s no choices here and the abilities are pre-determined based on your first class choice.

    Still… I am getting ahead of myself. What SwapQuest is really about is its puzzle-game design. Your character starts out on a pathway on a grid. Each level is a giant grid of pathway pieces, and what you need to do is swap these tiles so your character can make their way through the level. A very simple mechanic really, so this is a very easy game to pick up and play (my 8 year old caught on in no time). It’s important to note that the fog (the "horde") is chasing you the entire time though, giving you a time limit, although it is a very easy one to deal with. You also have full control of your character and can choose paths when you have a choice or even just stop completely as needed.

    There’s more to it than getting from "Point A" to "Point B" though. This is a puzzle-game at heart but there’s a lot of RPG mechanics in here as well. You will fight monsters as you go along, gaining experience and leveling up. You gather jewels that you can use to buy new equipment (armor and weapons), as well as upgrade your abilities and put status effects on your armor and weapons. There’s also your unique abilities you can use and… yeah, that’s actually all of the RPG mechanics actually. Pretty basic on the RPG mechanics, but it definitely spices this game up far beyond a basic puzzle game.

    Other than the main maps you’ll play through, the game also has a bunch of "challenge maps". These maps are often short and feature a fun challenge (like collecting jewels or not getting hit). Good to break up the pace, but another one of the game play’s big positives here is its sheer variety. As you play you’ll visit a lot of different environments, and many of these environments will introduce map quirks you’ll have to deal with. Some examples include needing to find water in a desert map, or a fire map blocking your way with lava. There’s just a lot of variety in general here.

    All in all, the game play is king in this type of game, and… it’s pretty solid. Actually swapping out tiles is fairly mindless, but when you pair it with killing enemies to level up and collecting jewels (along with the stage variety) there’s enough here to make the game feel solid. It’s not the most in-depth game play out there, but it’s great "mindless game play".

    Graphically, you can tell this game premiered as a phone game (it’s pretty obvious). Again, the areas you visit do have a great amount of variety from your typical fantasy settings, and most of the enemies here look decent with good variety as well, but these are still very much budget graphics. I didn’t mind them at all, personally. The soundtrack to the game is solid as well, with a good "high fantasy" sound throughout. I rather enjoyed the soundtrack actually, as the tunes here are easy listening for the most part. Can’t complain about that.

    As far as re-playability goes, while the game seems to be linear at the start, eventually all the game’s levels will open up on a world map. This is great for grinding, because oh man do you ever need jewels. The game also has several hidden levels you can unlock, with suitable rewards. Then there’s the game’s trophy list, which is a fairly full one that makes you completely master the game before you’ll earn the platinum (the hidden boss is rough…). You could also technically play with the game’s other classes, but that seems rather excessive (maybe just to try them out?). Either way, SwapQuest has a good play time and good amount of re-playability, which is especially impressive given the budget price point.

    Overall: 6/10

    I have to admit, SwapQuest is a lot better than I thought it would be. The game play is pretty simple, but the RPG mechanics (as sparse as they are) help to keep you engaged. That plus the game has enough variety in it to spice things up every now and again.

    Obviously this game can’t hold a candle to most "serious releases", and even as a time-waster there are better options out there (Fallout Shelter, for example), you could do a lot worse. Combined with the very cheap price tag and full trophy list and you’ve got a solid buy for a good variety of people. Hopefully this review has helped you out! Have fun and keep playing!

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