Swing King, on a pure visual level, is a completely worthy download. The world created within each puzzle is a total joy to watch, and if staring at my iPad was the only way to judge a game, Swing King would easily reign at the top of the list. But games are obviously meant to be played, and as much as I love losing myself in these intricate environments, the actual action within this physics based title left me slightly bored.
The main character is a king who uses his physical prowess to collect stars. Each level's goal is to grab as many stars as possible, and once you hop on an all too eager unicorn, you are ready to move on to the next stage. With 92 levels at your disposal, there are a plethora of puzzles to solve. If you want to run through the stages in an expediented fashion, don't even worry about grabbing all the stars and simply maneuver your king to the unicorn.
Each stage will have a series of boundaries that will keep you from your unicorn. Some objects can be moved and, if you're lucky, open up a free line of fire to your intended path. The main method of moving, however, is to swing from one eyed purple creature to the other. When that mode of transportation is not immediately possible, a green colored power up will help you stick your landing. Missing the chance to swing into these two options will often lead to your demise, so make sure you plan your swings with a modicum of thought.
The game is broken down into four different worlds, with the first world containing 20 different missions. I was pleasantly surprised with my first boss fight, which put my boxing glove power up to good use. After you beat the boss with a couple of punches, a highly welcomed animated sequence pops up, giving a pretty cool rendering of the showdown. It's these eye catching moments which keep me hanging on to Swing King's potential.
Another positive facet of Swing King is the plethora of different hats you can collect by either amassing enough stars, beating bosses, or accomplishing various goals. If wearing a crown doesn't fit your fashion sense, there's a wide array of lids to choose from. I'm currently rocking the disco king look, which for some reason equates to a curly haired purple wig.
Another solid element is the score, which effectively captures the hypnotic and quirky tone of the game. Created by Podington Bear (the musician's real name is Chad Crouch), the music featured in Swing King is worth listening as its own living and breathing thing. It's just another reason to love the game.
Unfortunately, Swing King exists as a game that's pretty to look at and listen to, but not to play. Navigating your king to the next level may sound fun upon first blush, but the action never really commanded my attention. If it was a desktop screen saver or part of an instrumental playlist, Swing King would be in its own league. Until then, its prospects as an addicting experience is simply lost in the stars.