Thank you so much to Digerati for providing a review code
Verlet Swing takes you deep into a world that would make Tim Burton jealous. Step right up and start swinging through an abstract world like an LSD popping Spiderman, as you make your way to the end zone target.
Sounds simple, right?
Well keep reading to see if this game hits the mark or swings and misses.
You would be hard pushed to say that Verlet swing has a story. There is no cohesive narrative that flows through the different levels. Rather, each one plays out as its own individual puzzle, growing with complexity as you progress from one to the other.
The lack of continuity between the levels is a detriment to the game’s overall experience. The short snappy levels are fun at first, but once you have played through as few as a half dozen, you do start aching for some form of overarching narrative. Some sense of purpose that gives you a reason to push onward.
If Verlet Swing even put in some collectibles or clues that would later help you solve some puzzle or grander riddle then the progression would become all the more rewarding. Sadly, however, as interesting as the game looks, and as challenging as it gets, the gameplay does become repetitive, limiting you to just a few rounds per session, and relegating the game to nothing more than a time-killer.
Verlet Swing is a game built around a very simple premise.
You start at point A and need to swing over to point B. You accomplish this by
latching onto the various structures that fill the world, propelling yourself
forward like everybody’s favorite web-slinging superhero.
It is a concept that sounds simple, and in the first few levels, it really is. One swing and you are there. But, as you would hope, the game gets progressively more difficult and within a handful of levels, you will not be reaching the end in one, or even two swings.
Once that starts to happen you will need to stay alert to your surroundings. The environment poses as both friend and foe, and you will need to think fast as you cut your own path through the level. On many levels, the end gate is hidden, or merely visible as a beam of light rising into the sky. To get to it you must plan carefully, choosing which objects to latch onto and which to avoid. That is where the real complexity starts to build, for while you can swing from almost everything, one collision with the same helpful items and your game will be over.
The swing mechanics are really impressive in this game and force you to think about things like swing velocity, arcs, and release points. Release timing is of utmost importance here because if you release too soon your swing will be too long and you’ll crash into the ground. Release too late and you will lose your momentum and won’t be able to make it to the end gate.
Presentation and Style
The art style certainly takes some getting used to. Abstract would be the best word to use when describing the world’s creation. However, much like the lack of greater story, the lack of continuity also continues on to the level design. Sure the goal is the same, but the levels can vary so much from one to the other that there is nothing to make you feel like you are playing one game.
Each world is a brightly colored explosion of imagination and creativity, with the team channeling their inner Dali without question. There is, in fact, often so much to see that it can act as a hindrance when playing a level. I am sure that this is by design, as it adds an extra dimension to the gameplay.
It was clear that the art and the visual side of the game was the main priority of the team, and it is a shame that the rest of the game suffers as a result. As a fan of the obscure, the attempt is appreciated, but it is a step too far without the true substance needed to back it up.
In terms of audio, there is nothing special or noteworthy about it. It does what it needs to do. When you first start the beats pull you along, but after a while, the sounds become a little too repetitive. While it acts as neither positive or negative, you are left wondering if the game would have played better with a more passionate soundtrack. Incorporation of a rhythm mechanic, combining swinging with the beats of the soundtrack would certainly take this game to another level.
The gameplay is very smooth, and as mentioned the technical element of the mechanics make it a better experience than it really deserves to be. There were no issues with dropped frames or control mechanic discrepancies, and that was a relief, given the speed with which you need to react on some levels. It goes some way to salvaging the game, because any death is the result of your own failing rather than a technical fault with the game.
While Verlet Swing is an intriguing concept and its execution is sound, there is a constant feeling that something is missing. That nagging feeling you get in the back of your head from time to time, that you just cannot put your finger on, but know to be true nonetheless.
It might be the lack of continuity turning the game into less of an immersive gaming experience and more of a carnival-ride of minigames. Perhaps it is just that the game is bizarre to the point of self-harm. The answer is probably going to be different for everybody, but there can be no denying that it’s just missing something vital that holds it back from being a good game.
Verlet Swing is by far not the best game on the Nintendo Switch, but by that same measure, there are plenty that are worse.