There’s something about Nitrome’s understanding of what makes mobile platformers tick that cuts deeper than simple design.
There are intuitions in most of the company’s games that go far beyond what most other devs are chucking up on the App Store.
And Hop Swap is no different. It’s a departure from the one-tap-ish leapers that Nitrome fans will be familiar with, but it still manages to take the genre in new and interesting direction, adding swipes and flips that keep you on your toes.
Plus it’s all wrapped up in that gorgeous, thick pixel art style that twangs all of the correct retro nostalgic heart strings.
Rabbit rabbit rabbit
As you might be able to tell from the title, the game casts you as a rabbit. You’re running through a series of interconnected levels, collecting gems, dodging enemies and solving simple puzzles.
There’s a decent amount of challenge here, but the game does ease you into its mechanics, so you never feel like you’ve been thrown in at the deep end when things start to get more and more difficult.
The twist is that at certain points in the level you can swap the side of the platforms you’re running on. Swipe down and you’ll hop down to the underside of whatever you’re traversing. And new ideas get added the further you get into the experience.
Jumping up before you swap sides sends you bouncing higher when you pop out on the other side. Swiping left or right changes the direction you’re running in, and you can bounce on the heads of bad guys to kill them.
There’s a risk and reward aspect to the checkpoints. You can unlock them with gems or by watching a video, but there’ll always be a part of you that feels cocky and wants to push on to the next one.
That makes your deaths even more important. Sure you might only get bounced back a few screens, but there’s something extra annoying about it when you’ve only got your own hubris to blame for the length of the rewind.
As always though it’s the way different concepts are threaded into the game that makes the experience so enjoyable. There are smart puzzles, interesting re-imaginings of certain platforming tropes, and more than enough game to really sink your teeth into.
And you’ll want to sink your teeth into it. Because this is a juicy, meaty piece of digital entertainment.
Hop Swap is a bright and engaging platformer that once again showcases Nitrome as one of the finest developers working on mobile right now.
Part of me thinks that this is all getting a bit repetitive, and that you’re going to get sick of me telling you Nitrome games are ace. But Nitrome games are ace, and this is another one that you should definitely go out and play right now.