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For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

The magic faraway tree

Product: Swingworm | Publisher: 10tons | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.0
Swingworm iPhone, thumbnail 1
Do you remember those weird little jelly toys where you flung a worm thing against a wall and it'd stick? Gravity would shortly take over, causing it to wiggle down the wall.

These cheap pieces of tat, which could provide literally minutes of entertainment before lint and dirt destroyed their sticking power, can probably still be found in joke-shops and marketplaces.

Swingworm is an elaborate play on that theme, but the game requires you to do a lot more than fling jelly toys against the wall. There's also a quest to complete, and some pretty graphics to gawp at.

Fruit Ninja

Swingy, for that is his name, is a young worm who'd like to climb to the top of the highest tree in the forest. But a big bug is blocking his path, and he'll only allow him to pass if he pays a fee. Swingy has to collect all the "rubbaberries" in a given stage, which he then uses to gain access to an elevator going up the tree.

It sounds quite bizarre in the telling – an elaborate act of extortion, cunningly disguised as a fairytale in the style of Enid Blyton. Even more bizarre are the movement and actions of Swingy himself. His body is effectively an accordion with two grips at either end.

You move him across the screen by grabbing on to something with one end - teeth or tail - and then using the touchscreen to stretch and swing the other end across in an arc. It sounds quite fluid on paper, but the actual mechanic is rather fiddly to control.

Matters are further complicated by the presence of spiky bugs that harm you if you're not careful, and by the fact that not all the anchor points are static. There are objects that rotate as you cling on to them, or move across the screen, and these mildly tax the brain.


It's a clever concept, and it looks very pretty, with some wonderful character designs. But as a game it's not actually that much fun to play. Part of the problem is that Swingy's got a very limited range of motion, and moving him across the field of play is not so much a delight as a repetitive chore.

The fact that you're racing against a clock to maximise your score doesn't help, either. Swingy is a slow, cumbersome creature. Making him pick up the pace isn't really an option, whereas with each passing stage the scenery becomes larger and more complex.

It'd be nice if there were moments in the game when Swingy could go into freefall and cut loose entirely from the objects he's attached to. Instead, he always has to have one end firmly planted on something before he can move forward and plant the other end.

If anything, the most fun to be had is in the bonus stages, where Swingy takes a break from the fruit-picking to venture into a burrow. Once inside, he bashes in a series of structures with his tail and collects what appear to be eggs.

If development had progressed more along those lines, Swingworm might have been a far better game. At the very least, it would have been able to keep boredom at bay for longer.
Reviewer photo
Bulent Yusuf | 13 January 2012
A marvellous idea that hasn't been executed as well as it deserves. It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing
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