As a kid, nothing beats swinging. The feeling of gaining momentum, so much that you could practically touch the sky, is such a thrill. But as you grow older and taller, your legs start to nip at the ground, slowing that once unstoppable speed.
Sway delivers the same initial thrill, yet as you spend more time with this clever game its difficulty begins to slow its momentum.
When a wizard accidentally blows up the world of Sway, Lizzy the Lizard has to track down her friends by swinging through the aftermath. Lizzy swings through levels using two rag doll arms to latch onto vertical surfaces.
The touchscreen splits in half, the left and right sides controlling Lizzy's right and left arms respectively. Placing a finger on the right side of the screen and moving it back and forth triggers Lizzy to swing from her left arm.
Moving is a matter of swinging, lifting a finger from one side of the screen, and then placing a finger on the other side to grab on with the opposite arm.
All you need to do is reach the end goal of each level, guiding her past obstacles, moving platforms, and across gaps. Pink stars littering each level can be collected to earn medals and new characters are unlocked by finding keys hidden within marked stages.
These are more challenging tasks that aren't mandated. Instead, Sway smartly leaves these optional, allowing you to simply swing through stages without care for time limits, lives, or collectibles.
And how grateful we are for infinite lives. Just getting through the game's 15 levels is a tough task. Beginning with three easy levels that take you across islands made of metal, the platforming grows incrementally harder as you tackle four more apiece on grass, sand, and wood.
The introduction of moving platforms ups the difficulty, as do spiked walls, protrusions preventing progress, and extraordinarily narrow platforms.
As much as some of these obstacles may make you want to throw your handset, what you learn is to throw Lizzy. Sway doesn't just employ physics to beautify Lizzy's sway in a realistic manner: the game demands that you learn to physically manipulate the rag doll to overcome the most serious obstacles.
Should you find yourself in front of a big gap, just fling yourself across. Sitting too low on a platform might mean swinging in a loop to work your way up. You frequently have to bend the physics in your favour to get things done.
Switching characters can help too. Unlocking one of Lizzy's friends is more than just another cute doll to play with; they actually possess individual attributes tied to physical performance.
Monkee, for example, has exceptionally long arms that makes reaching for platforms a breeze, but he's slower moving. Ninja Man has shorter arms that enable him to move much faster. This adds an incentive to unlock characters, switching to those that best match your style of play.Sway is a challenging game to be certain, yet like a child to a swing you're destined to come back for another ride. Any frustration is temporary. Resisting the adorable Lizzy and friends is impossible, and the laidback gameplay makes coming back very easy.