Illusion Labs released Sway [App Store] to the App Store yesterday. The $4.99 game offers some of the most innovative multi-touch controls for an iPhone game that we've seen.

The object of the game is to rescue your friends in the world of Sway by swinging your way through levels by collecting stars and keys to unlock additional Sway friends that you can also use. Each character seems to have some distinct characteristics (speed, strength, arm length) which keep things interesting.

The controls are unique and do require some training. When you first start the game, you are going to fall... a lot. Don't worry, that's normal (I think). There's a bit of a pace that you need to capture to properly sway. Illusion Labs does a good job with this instructional video which teaches you the basics.

I think it's not an exaggeration to say the entire game revolves around the controls. The levels are essentially progressively harder obstacle courses for you to navigate. While this is likely also true for most any platformer, this fact was somehow more apparent in Sway. What this means is that if you love the controls, then you'll love this game. And that's not a necessarily a bad thing, since there are many who do love them.

The 15 included levels, however, can go by rather quickly, and I do wish the gameplay were better "paced". There is no penalty for falling/dying. You simply restart at your last checkpoint, having lost nothing except a little time. While this may mean you get a bronze instead of gold medal, all unlockables can be achieved through brute repetition rather than (necessarily) improving your skills. This also means you can make it through the earlier levels well before your skills might be "ready" for the later levels.

Still, there's a lot to love about Sway. The graphics, music and style are wonderful. The entire package is just very well put together, and you will find yourself replaying earlier levels once you get the hang of the controls. Each level has Bronze, Silver, and Gold achievements based on how many stars can be collected within a certain amount of time. The unlockable characters also add a reason to keep playing.

This gameplay video shows one of the middle levels and one of the later levels:


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

Despite our criticisms about gameplay pacing, the overall Sway experience is probably one of the most polished and uniquely "iPhone" experiences available in the App Store, and it would be hard not to recommend on that basis alone.

App Store Link: Sway, $4.99

TouchArcade Rating

  • michael sean

    The design is beautiful! It makes me want to play Little Big Planet.

  • michael sean

    The design is beautiful! It makes me want to play Little Big Planet.

  • pante

    toucharcade.com
    best reviews ever.

  • pante

    toucharcade.com
    best reviews ever.

  • Adams Immersive

    I just noticed--that realtime shadow is the real deal: fuzzier at the far end and everything. Seldom seen in any game.

  • Adams Immersive

    I just noticed--that realtime shadow is the real deal: fuzzier at the far end and everything. Seldom seen in any game.

  • dunkee

    it's overhyped.

  • http://deleted dunkee

    it's overhyped.

  • rich_952000

    Arn, that review was almost as good as Sway! I hope this isn't all we get to see from Ninja Man, either more levels, or SwayII, as long as I get MORE. Until then I'll keep Swaying, and catapulting my little Rolandos..........which brings up a good point:

    Rolando vs. Sway, SNK style!!!!!!

  • rich_952000

    Arn, that review was almost as good as Sway! I hope this isn't all we get to see from Ninja Man, either more levels, or SwayII, as long as I get MORE. Until then I'll keep Swaying, and catapulting my little Rolandos..........which brings up a good point:

    Rolando vs. Sway, SNK style!!!!!!

  • Brian

    When they said Rolondo makes the best use of the iPhone, it's because this game wasn't out yet... Sway has the best control mechanics of any iPhone game I have played yet.

  • Brian

    When they said Rolondo makes the best use of the iPhone, it's because this game wasn't out yet... Sway has the best control mechanics of any iPhone game I have played yet.

  • cosmic

    I'm liking the controls on this. Looks like a simple but good challenge.

  • cosmic

    I'm liking the controls on this. Looks like a simple but good challenge.

  • Mike

    I've already spent more time playing this game than any of the others I've bought (too many). It seems like the developers must have spent much time refining the control mechanism. That's what makes this kind of a game. The beautiful, smooth graphics are really just gravy (but tasty gravy, to be sure.) This game is a lot of fun.

  • Mike

    I've already spent more time playing this game than any of the others I've bought (too many). It seems like the developers must have spent much time refining the control mechanism. That's what makes this kind of a game. The beautiful, smooth graphics are really just gravy (but tasty gravy, to be sure.) This game is a lot of fun.

  • nizy

    The controls are very well implemented. They take some time to get used to but when you have got used to them, they are so much fun to play.

  • nizy

    The controls are very well implemented. They take some time to get used to but when you have got used to them, they are so much fun to play.

  • niz554

    i got this game, and its amazing. this review doesn't do it justice in my opinion. the controls are the best on the iphone by far, i didn't really like rolando, so when this game came out i was a bit skeptical. the characters are another amazing part of this game, each one is unique. some have longer arms but are more heavily waited. others have short arms but are really light. some even have one arm longer than the other. each character provides a new method of finishing the level. ex. with ninja man, the tiny guy can flip his way through half the level without going near any obstacles. while the long armed monkey, can navigate spaces better but has a hard time with obstacles. all in all amazing cant wait for more 5/5

  • niz554

    i got this game, and its amazing. this review doesn't do it justice in my opinion. the controls are the best on the iphone by far, i didn't really like rolando, so when this game came out i was a bit skeptical. the characters are another amazing part of this game, each one is unique. some have longer arms but are more heavily waited. others have short arms but are really light. some even have one arm longer than the other. each character provides a new method of finishing the level. ex. with ninja man, the tiny guy can flip his way through half the level without going near any obstacles. while the long armed monkey, can navigate spaces better but has a hard time with obstacles. all in all amazing cant wait for more 5/5

  • jaytee

    did they just pick the absolute ugliest screenshot to put on the review, or does the game actually look like that?

  • jaytee

    did they just pick the absolute ugliest screenshot to put on the review, or does the game actually look like that?

  • Chris Jackson

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    however, it does get quite stressFULL!

    love it lots though, graphics and gameplay are awesome in this title.

  • Chris Jackson

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    however, it does get quite stressFULL!

    love it lots though, graphics and gameplay are awesome in this title.

  • http://illusionlabs.com Anders

    Hi guys,

    I just wanted to let you know that we will release an update with not only more levels, but also with new game elements, and perhaps also some other stuff ;)

    Cheers,
    Anders

  • http://illusionlabs.com Anders

    Hi guys,

    I just wanted to let you know that we will release an update with not only more levels, but also with new game elements, and perhaps also some other stuff ;)

    Cheers,
    Anders

  • rich_952000

    @Anders, ..........THANK.............YOU...........!

  • rich_952000

    @Anders, ..........THANK.............YOU...........!

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  • Spirall

    Argh, Sway lite in my region's Appstore, but not the full version!!

  • Spirall

    Argh, Sway lite in my region's Appstore, but not the full version!!

  • Jezza

    What region are you in, I'm in victoria Australia and sway isn't there either, devs, PLEASE add it to aussie app store

  • Jezza

    What region are you in, I'm in victoria Australia and sway isn't there either, devs, PLEASE add it to aussie app store

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