When I saw SwapQuest for the first time, my reaction was that the premise seemed great. Your character auto-runs through a stage while you slide around pipe tiles to create a path. After playing the game through, I still think the premise is great. I enjoyed most of my time with SwapQuest, even though it’s a bit frayed at its edges.
The game starts by having you pick either a male or female heir to a throne. You’re cast in a fantasy world where an evil entity has broken free from its crystal prison and taken over the kingdom. Shards are scattered across the land, and if you want to restore peace, you better believe that those shards need to be found. The overworld map allows you to choose a level or hang out in your Caravan. The levels are typically short – around 4-10 minutes – with a few mini-challenges, bosses, and lengthy levels to mix up the recipe a bit. The Caravan becomes more robust the more you play the game. At first, you can only purchase a weapon, a piece of armor, or deposit some gems in the bank. After leveling up your character, you can pay gems to boost your special moves’ effectiveness as well as purchase elemental buffs/resistances on your gear. The Caravan feature is a great pitstop in between levels. I found the rest of the leveling system to be boiled down to a fault, so it was nice to have some sort of customization of my character.
In addition to picking your character’s gender (a binary choice), you can select what class they’ll be. The classes are your typical RPG fare, with only one true selection making sense – the Trickster. With its boosted Luck and diminished Defense, I had an enjoyable, if sometimes difficult, time hacking my way through the game. The leveling system happens fairly passively. During a level, you’ve got a good deal of choice as to where you want to lead your ever-walking character. If you lead him/her towards chests, gems will spew out to be collected. If you lead him/her towards monsters, you can engage in auto-attack battles that last until one of you is pummeled to death. Exp is earned, and when you reach predetermined benchmarks, you level up. Stat distribution is not controlled by the player, which is fine in this hybrid of a game. Your character class changes a few times and you can choose between learning two abilities each transformation. So in that case, there is some control over what your character becomes.
The mechanics of the game are sound. The pacing seems very slow until you realize there’s a decent amount to do on each map. If you want to have a clear path for your character to meander through, you have to constantly swap tiles. The main input seems to be the touch screen, which works great. I did play a few levels with the analogue sticks and buttons, which also worked just fine. During some challenges, I even switched between the control schemes to better control my character’s movement. For someone who is terrible at slide puzzles, I didn’t have too much difficulty playing through SwapQuest. Every once in a while I found myself frustrated by not being able to locate the piece I wanted, but I got around that by making roundabout paths to achieve the same outcome.
There are some shabby parts to SwapQuest that show its one-man dev team. The UI doesn’t look nearly as polished as the rest of the game. The game stalled on my a couple of times; once during a boss fight where I had to wait until the entire screen was engulfed in flames, and once in the Character Sheet screen where I had to close the game to get back to playing it. That being said, the game as a whole is a fun experience. The music is great and the gameplay will tickle your puzzle brain for the four to five hours it will take you to finish the game.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Great concept
- Simple gameplay
What I Dislike:
- Shabby UI
- Stalls/Force quits