The puzzle game genre can offer a number of creative ways to tackle challenges. From putting blocks into the right formations too navigating a tricky platforming challenge, they offer timeless experiences that many enjoy to this day. Some puzzle games offer unique ways to use mechanics used many times over, which is fitting when talking about Green Game TimeSwapper for the PS Vita and other mobile platforms.
Using simple touch controls, you control time to help a bird get to a special cage. That sounds simple, but does such a novel concept offer a fun gaming experience?
The game really has no story but there is context to the experience. Your bird escapes but enters a special world enveloped in green. Being able to control time by shifting past, present and the future, you are tasked with escaping this new world. Simple set up but it leads to fun gameplay to be offered.
Controlling the bird is well, not a problem. I say that consider you don’t control it at all; the bird moves in one direction on it’s own. So how do you get through puzzles with a character you cannot control? You do so through time powers. By using the touch screen and swiping left & right, your bird has the power to control the flow of time.
Puzzles normally have you using this to activate vents that shift the direction the bird travels in but it gets more complex as you play through the games fifty stages. You can shift the direction of the vents, use time to revert objects into a broken state and even moving pillars up/down; the game gives you a lot of control over the various mechanical parts of the game world. This results in creative levels that add layers of depth the more you play, resulting in a rewarding experience the more you stick with the game.
But the game is only controlled with the touch screen; you cannot use traditional buttons or analog sticks to control time. I was okay with this, as I got used to the basic controls the more I played the game but it would be lying if I said I had no issue with this when first playing the game. Considering this on Vita (version used for this review), I would have liked options for traditional controls, as the system fully supports them. Despite my gripes with controls through, it plays fine and once you play the first few levels, you get used to things quickly using the touch screen.
Getting to the goal isn’t the only goal for the many levels; you can also collect special time orbs. Every level has three to collect and they act as ‘stars’ so-to-speak. Getting every time orb is a major challenge, as the many levels are designed in such a way, that if you go out of your way to get these orbs, death is common. Not having direct control of the bird results in getting every orb in a run being quite challenging and is where most of the games difficulty stems from.
It is a smart design choice and it results in replay value being added. Getting every single time orb across the fifty levels will take a while. Outside of completing the levels and getting all the time orbs, you also have trophies to earn, further adding replay value to the experience. All of this results in a puzzle game that will take a few hours to fully complete.
Presentation in this title is strong, with a musical score that is catchy and fun to listen too. Instrumentation for the game’s soundtrack is solid which results in a soundtrack focusing on Jazzy beats. The visuals are nice too, with sharp green hues contrasting with different shades of black that objects/characters reside within. This allows the game to have a simple but striking look.
If you enjoy puzzle games, I can recommend this to any Vita owner that is a fan of the genre. Using touch controls with clever time mechanics allows for fun levels to complete. Added depth with the placement of time orbs also adds replay value to the experience. Green Game TimeSwapper has an odd name but don’t let that push you away from a fun puzzle adventure for your PS Vita or mobile device.
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