Visually, Swing King carries an awesome 16-bit retro aesthetic due to the pixelated art style, and this definitely takes me back to the golden days of gaming. While Swing King has pixel art, it’s modernized so that it looks incredibly smooth, and not jagged like older games. The color palette features a wide range of hues, ranging from bright and vibrant shades to much more muted, earthy tones, depending on the area that you manage to make your way to. Character sprites for Mumbles the Monkey and all of the other critters you’ll encounter on your journey are cute and easy to spot amidst the chaos. Animations are velvety and fluid, with no lag on my iPhone 7. The game also has an upbeat and quirky chiptune soundtrack that is fun to listen to, and just adds to the overall charm of this challenging arcade game.
Since Swing King & The Temple of Bling is an action-puzzle game, that means that it is level-based. At the moment, there are 45 stages for players to go through, and checkpoints are available at the start of each stage if you have the coin for it (10 coins to unlock). Since the game is rather seamless when it comes to transitioning between each level, you can’t really go back to a previous stage, which is why the checkpoint system is in place. The one thing that makes Swing King a bit different from other puzzles, though, is the fact that there are no stars to acquire on each stage, nor is there a point system, so you can play the game entirely at your own pace. There are ads that pop up every now and then since the game is a free download, but they are always between levels, so not truly intrusive.
The controls in Swing King are simple and require only one tap, so the game can be played anywhere, anytime. To start a level, just tap-and-hold to have Mumbles swing in from the bottom of the screen. When he flies past one of the squares on the stage, long press on the screen to have Mumbles grab onto the pole in the middle and swing in circles around it. The moment you release your finger from the screen, Mumbles will be sent flying off in the direction he was swinging towards, and this is how you maneuver around the stage.
Things start off easy enough, as you’ll swing around and collect the gold coins to use on unlocking checkpoints to save time. However, the further along you get, the more difficult the game becomes. You’ll have to watch out for spikes along the walls, sticky spider webs that hold you in place until you decide to move again, various enemies that will kill you in a single touch, and other dangerous hazards. If you die, you’ll have to start over from whatever checkpoint you paid to unlock, otherwise you’ll start from the beginning. It’s a little annoying, but the gold coins are scattered about generously, so you shouldn’t have issues collecting enough to open a new checkpoint.
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