Swingworm is cute, but it’s not as much fun as climbing a tree in real life
Have you ever gazed up at the moon and longed to get a better look? Just climb the tallest tree around and get a little closer to the heavens? If you’ve ever felt (and done) so, then you know how great this can be. Developer 10 Tons seeks to capture this experience with Swingworm, a cute little platformer that never quite manages to feel as rewarding as the real thing.
The story here is pretty basic, starring a protagonist who shares the same name as the game he stars in. Swingworm lives in the Whispering Woods, where he finds a tree so tall that he thinks he’ll be able to crawl all the way up to the moon. Unfortunately Big Bug, who is charging a toll to climb his property, owns the tree. As a result, Swingworm has to collect a certain number of berries in order to ride Big Bug’s elevator up to the next section of the tree (though why the lazy git needs that many berries is never really explained).
Swingworm moves by, you guessed it, swinging around. His head and his tail both act as anchor points, and the little guy stretches out to bite into the surfaces of things like leaves and wood blocks that are peppered around each level. At first, things are simple, but the levels quickly become challenging by placing the berries further and further apart, adding in thorns and insects to avoid, and rotating platforms to navigate.
The mechanics are simple: You just drag Swingworm’s head and tail around and get them to make contact with the next closest surface. In order to complete a level, you have to collect all the berries that are present, and you earn the maximum star rating by collecting them within a time limit. It’s often challenging to achieve that last task, but completing a level is never all that difficult. In fact, the lack of challenge starts to make the gameplay feel a bit repetitive before you make it through the multitude of different levels.
Visually, the game is nicely done. The levels and character designs all feature some nice retro, cel-shaded looks. The game is bright and colorful, and Swingworm himself features some great expressions when he’s being dragged around. However, a lot of the levels don’t feature much artistic imagination and thus start to blend together in terms of design.
Swingworm is well-made and good-looking, but it’s not really all that interesting or fun to play. What will likely make it appealing for some gamers, though, is how easy it is to play. That makes it a great choice for younger children. As a result, you might want to pick it up so your kid relatives have something to play the next time you’re all together.