Friday, January 15, 2016

PC Review #137: Swapperoo

Title: Swapperoo
Developer: Fallen Tree Games
Platforms: PC, IOS Universal
Price: $9.99 (PC), $2.99 (IOS)
I'm not the biggest fan of match-3 puzzlers outside of the genre hybrids like Hero Emblems and Puzzle Quest. So it was a nice surprise that I enjoyed Swapperoo as much as I did. Although, perhaps I should have expected it; Fallen Tree Games had proven themselves with the excellent series of Quell games and Swapperoo evolves the traditional match-3 formula in interesting ways to deliver a surprisingly strategic puzzler.
At its core, Swapperoo follows the same principals as any other match-3 game - connect three or more like items on a grid, removing those matched items from the grid, and so on - but that's where the similarities end. The first and most crucial change is that you only move certain tiles on the grid, and furthermore, only move these triangular tiles in the direction they're pointing. This change alone makes matching a strategic affair, requiring planning moves ahead and thinking if or how to move tiles around the grid,
But soon Swapperoo adds more elements into the mix. Each new addition introduces a new hazard or new caveat to the basic match-3 formula. Suddenly you have tiles that explode after a certain amount of turn, ending your game; now every move you make matters. Then you have sawblade tiles that destroy any tile they collide with; careless moves will throw your grid into chaos, but with planning and careful maneuvering, you can use the sawblade to clear the path for other tiles and set up some high-scoring matches.

And those two are only the start. Tiles that needed to be protected, tiles locked in place, and more continue to add new wrinkles and challenges to the puzzles. On top of those unique tiles, Swapperoo also gives you access to three special abilities, to be used at the most opportune moments: moving a specific tile in any direction, increasing the time on the bomb tiles, and completely detonating the grid. Powering-up these abilities require calculated matches, so each use shouldn't be wasted.

The game features both a hefty selection of handcrafted levels, with unique objectives ranging from simply making a certain number of matches to only making matches with specific tiles, and 38 randomized challenges to truly test your skills and offer long-term replay value.
Swapper is available on Steam, as well as IOS; an Android version is expected soon.

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