One of the joys of childhood is the limitless power of imagination. All it takes is the slightest spark of inspiration and the ordinary becomes extraordinary. It doesn’t matter where you look: backyards, playgrounds, or at the park–children experience the same fantasies: being a princess, or a knight in shining armor, or even leading a fantastic adventure like Indiana Jones. While no game on iOS to date has completely recreated the experience of being Indiana Jones, Temple Run, and its sequel, have recreated half of the experience: running through ancient ruins from an unseen danger and leaping over deadly chasms. What the game hasn’t recreated are the amazing moments when Doctor Jones would take his bullwhip and make his way over a pit of spikes. That’s where Whip Swing, out on the iOS App Store today, comes in.
Whip Swing is the latest game for iPhones and iPads from Pixel Envision, a husband and wife team that create “high quality casual games and educational apps for kids“. The premise of the game is simple: armed with nothing but a bullwhip you play as an unnamed explorer tasked with using his whip to swing from branch to branch over a never ending chasm of spike–but if you miss the branches, you’re dead. The game is played out entirely in 2D and in a game like this it works. In all fairness,if I had to compare it to a more recent app in terms of gameplay and style I’d have to say it feels a lot like Rope N Fly, only with better visuals and on a less grand scale. The game runs at a smooth 60fps and from the moment I pressed play I was hooked.
The official description of the app states that “Gameplay is easy to learn but hard to master” and that statement is completely accurate. During my earliest attempts at playing the game I found I wasn’t getting very far (very fast). Over time I learned to manage the one skill needed to play this game: touch the screen to latch on to branches, lift finger off screen to jump. I can’t say there’s a lot of things I do one handed on my iPhone 6 but playing this game one handed is something I’ve found myself doing often. As you progress further in the game the difficulty is raised, with gaps appearing more often and geysers (as well as rock pillars) attempting to hinder your journey.
The true stand out of this game though is the games unnamed exploratory star. Many times playing the game I found myself mesmerized by the character’s design and subtle motion as he swung from branch to branch. Upon hitting the spikes several spots of blood appear on the explorer and he closes his eyes which gives him the look of the cutest skeleton I’ve ever seen. Truth be told, as at home as this character is in Whip Swing, he’d be just as at home in a 2D adventure platformer for iOS–and that’s a game I’d love to own.
The visual is only half the experience though–the other part is an audible experience. Stuart Duffield crafted some wonderful music for the game that plays the entire time your little explorer is is racing through the jungle.
If you want to check out Whip Swing it’s available now as an iOS exclusive, though an android version is in its way.
I give Whip Swing a 4 out of 5.