Swiftly Review

Title

Swiftly is a physics-based platformer developed by Cleverweek where you guide a small black box through stages filled with a small variety of obstacles and differently colored floors. Running into a spinning circular saw-like object or falling through any side of the screen will cause you to restart from a checkpoint. Pushing left or right will make the block gain momentum and up will cause the block to jump. You can adjust your momentum by pushing the opposite direction you are headed and the block can double jump. Floor types range from blue, normal floors; green, bouncy floors; and red, frictionless floors. A timer runs while you attempt to make it through the stage and persists after having to start over.

Game

You’re just a square among stars.

I definitely tried to play this game and enjoy it, and at first I kind of did. I tried to jump and slide my way through and failed many times, getting a little better as I learned the physics. But eventually I got to points that even if I managed to get through, I wouldn’t be able to replicate my success. Obstacles are oddly placed and at some points allow for only one precise movement to get past them. Bouncing too high on a green floor will cause your little block to go off the top of the screen, resulting in “death”. Red platforms will just send you flying even if your trajectory is the only one from which you could advance. The game offers a manual that tries to inform you of the specifics of force involved in movements, but honestly I suspect to most it’s more mystifying than helpful.

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There were also just a lot of programming bugs and visual issues. The saws have such unreliable, oddly shaped hitboxes that often you will die even if no part of the blade is touching you. The timer, for some odd reason, continues to run even if you quit a level and go back to the main menu. The block just abruptly disappears when it hits a saw, which isn’t necessarily wrong, but it’s just not satisfying. Even if a little beep or boop played upon contact it would have a little more purchase than the unceremonious blink from existence.

Timer

I know that looks high, but I’m actually pretty good at the menu level. See if you can beat my time!

Swiftly is a game plagued by many issues that suggest that it’s just not done. There’s nothing wrong with an unfinished game having problems, but this was released as a complete product for a price (only $0.99 but honestly that’s too much). The Steam Store page says it’s a “very challenging platformer” which is true, but misleading. The challenge lies more in overcoming the design flaws than it does mastering the physics engine, which is obviously what the developer wanted people to do. With a bit more work, this game could be okay. Until they release an update though, don’t waste your dollar.

Checkpoint.jpg

Actually, this is the point to check Steam for a different game.

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