This isn’t going to be a long review because there isn’t a lot of game to review. But what game there is is pretty fun. This game also released on the Rift and is in the early access section which makes me think it probably should have been in the concepts section of the Gear VR store. In any case, there is more game coming according to the final screen so I may have to come back and look at it again down the road.
The game is about a boy who has a spring loaded hand helmet that can grab on to anything. You use this helmet to grab objects throughout the level and swing on them as you make your way toward a bell somewhere in the stage. The bell is sometimes plainly visible and sometimes it’s hidden out of sight.
Usually you will be grabbing floating blocks, swinging underneath and letting go then grabbing the next floating block, and so on until the end of the level. I’ve played another game in VR like this that you may have heard of called Windlands. While Windlands, which runs on a PC, is obviously more in depth than Swing Star, I think that Swing Star could capture a huge part of what makes Windlands fun if they sorted out the physics and swinging.
For example, when you shoot out your hand to grab a block, it feels random how far it extends before becoming taut and causing you to swing underneath or around whatever you’re holding on to. I also feel like I often don’t have enough momentum and so rather than swinging like Spiderman and launchung myself into the air at the top of my swing and being able to soar a ways before shooting out the hand again, I find I just sink like dead weight, hanging below whatever I’ve grabbed on to. I’m not sure if this is a flaw in the game, or if I just suck at it. Unfortunately, at the moment, the game is so short that you don’t really get a lot of time to practice.
If the floating blocks were the only objects in the game I’d probably just say fuhgeddaboutit, but that’s not the case. There are yo-yos, which whip you around faster and faster and you have to time when you let go to send yourself flying in the right direction. They don’t appear until a few levels into the game but when they did I wished that all blocks were yo-yos. There are also cannons which…well, do what cannons do. They launch you through the air, similar to when a yo-yo is done right, but without the work of having to time it correctly. And finally there are blobs of gelatin that you can sit in and plan your next move. As soon as your hand touches them, you get sucked in. They aren’t a lot of fun, but they can be helpful.
There are sixteen levels in the game right now and as I said, they won’t take long to beat. Some more game time can be added by going back and trying to get perfect three star scores, and apparently once you do that you unlock a “mysterious inter-dimensional universe” which I have not seen yet. If I do see it and it’s amazing I will come back and edit the review.
The game looks great overall. It’s very basic for sure, but the colours are bright and some of the levels have a great sense of scale. It’s a good fit for the Gear VR.
The soundtrack is made up of unremarkable electronic music tracks. They are far from bad, but they aren’t very memorable either. I had to load the game up again as I was writing this because I couldn’t remember a single sound from the game.
My biggest complaint about this game is that it is so short. There have been other games that have promised more content and not delivered on that promise, but in this case I hope they deliver in spectacular fashion. I would like about one hundred levels, assuming they are all roughly the same length. It would still be a short game, but it would be worth the $2.99 then.
Finally, it’s always hard to determine this, especially for me because I seem to have strong VR legs, but I think that this game is going to make people sick. The camera rotates around the player when you turn your head and it feels a bit funky. By the end of the game I was used to it and not even thinking about it anymore, and maybe that will be the case with most people. But if you’re prone to VR sickness, either sit this one out, or be ready for the possibility that you will be out three bucks for a game you can’t play.
Swing Star is a fun game that suffers from being far too short. It promises more levels, but we’ve heard that before and it’s not been delivered so we will have to wait and see here. It isn’t a graphical powerhouse by any means, but it doesn’t need or want to be. If you have the stomach for it, it could be something to keep you busy for a few minutes while you wait for your coffee in the morning. Longer if you are a completionist.