If there’s one main thing that grabs you about Green Game: TimeSwapper, it’s the price. Pushing for title of “cheapest game on the eShop”, this cup of coffee’s worth of game may have caught your attention. Is it worth passing up a latte at your coffee shop of choice? Well, let’s find out!
First and foremost it must be stated that Green Game: TimeSwapper is portable mode only game. There is no docked gameplay at all. If you try to play in docked mode all you will get is a bit of funky music playing and a short message telling you to pull it out to play. As a former mobile game, fair enough.
With such an odd title, it seems to part of a series with this being the green entry and it does seem a little at odds since at the time of writing, there are no other games in the series out on the Switch. I’d bet a mortgage on them coming though. Saying that, did they really need the fore-title? I think TimeSwapper would have sufficed, but now we’re just nitpicking. Is it a good game? Well, it’s okay for the price.
The premise of the gameplay is simple. You guide a weird bird thingy through 50 levels using the power of time. You change the time by swiping your finger horizontally on the touch screen and you can see where abouts your time is by a ray of light that sways from one side of the screen to the other. Changing time will affect things in the stage as you’d imagine. The beginning levels act as a rather confusing tutorial where you can manipulate steam chutes on or off which help direct your bird, then you have the rotating steam chutes which are exactly what they say on the tin, then you have the walls which can be fixed or destroyed depending on which time you’re set at. These are the basic things you’ll be facing in the first 10 levels or so. It rarely gets more complicated than that.
The problem is that it doesn’t really feel like you’re playing with time or anything. The concept of time is barely here. How does turning time forward or backwards affect which direction something is facing or when a pipe is blowing steam or not. Yes, the broken walls do offer some glimpse of inspiration for the tricky subject, but most just seem like you’re pulling a lever rather than changing time. The concept is just not well thought out.
If you can get passed that though, the gameplay itself is alright if slightly banal, especially early on. As you guide your little bird friend through the hazards and stuff you can pick up gears as an extra collectable, three per stage. I never found any real urge to go out of my way to collect them aside from if I wanted an extra little challenge because you really do need to go out of your way and follow a more dangerous path if you want them all. Sometimes I’m okay with stuff like this but usually only in games where controls are tight and precise so I can test my skills with them.
Sadly, the controls in TimeSwapper are anything but precise. Oddly I found the swiping controls to be really unintuitive. Swiping makes them jerk to an extreme degree and holding either side of the screen makes the movement slower but the direction is completely off. Holding it down on the left side can make it go left or right, vice versa on holding the right. It seems completely random at which way it wants to go. I found it quite bizarre in fact.
There are a few power ups such as slowing down time which are strategically placed for you already, which rarely add anything to the game. It would have been better if the power up could be collected and used at a later time at the player’s choosing.
I think segregating it to handheld only is a missed opportunity. I really think that due to the nature of the gameplay they could have really taken advantage of some of the Switch’s gimmicks. I don’t understand why they couldn’t use the gyro controls to simulate moving time left and right, for example. I think that could have been much more compelling as a gameplay prospects. It would beat swiping your finger on a screen any day.
It’s not the most positive review, I know, but it’s not just a compelling game for me personally. One thing that I really did love about TimeSwapper though was the music which has an excellent soul jazz vibe that is totally out of place but fantastic nonetheless. The graphics are fairly standard too with the classic silhouetted foreground against a highly contrasting coloured background, in this case a very strong green which reminded me of playing Bulb Boy.
Overall, I know it’s an overly harsh review for such a cheap game but the fact is, I just did not find it compelling to play at all. In that regard the price doesn’t matter if it’s 40 pounds or two pounds, if it’s not good, it’s not good. It’s slightly frustrating, slightly boring and the only truly good thing about it is the amazing music.
Game provided by iFun4all.