By Doug Goldring updated on 05/27/2010
All you need to do is match the colors on the rotating tube. That’s it, just spin the rings on the cylinder, like a codex, in order to match the colors and remove them. Sounds pretty cool, and a bit on the unique side to me, so I was happy to take a look when the developers offered to send over a copy for review.
A quick glance at the game really impressed me. The interface (which is not optimized for the iPad yet) features an incredible looking 3D cylinder. The tube is made up of six rings, each containing colored tiles. Depending upon the mode you choose, these rings may have as many as four levels. This means each ring can hold up to 48 tiles, for a total of up to 288 colored tiles. Your job is to remove them all by matching like-colored tiles.
To manipulate the pattern, you can just flick any of the six rings in order to spin it. Flick with two fingers to spin the whole cylinder at once, and get a look at the other side.. Another pretty cool feature of the interface is that tilting the screen will cause the cylinder to rotate, allowing you to view it at a slightly different angle. I did think it would have been nice if the tube could have rotated a full 360 degrees, rather than simply the slight end to end movement it exhibits now.
Gameplay itself is pretty standard. Rotate the rings on the tube in order match the colors, double tap to remove. Obviously, the more matching tiles you remove at once, the higher your score. But watch out, because the mere fact that these tiles are next to each other may not be enough. Like I said, there can be several levels of tiles stacked on top of one another. If there is too much distance between the levels then you will not get a match.
Adding even more excitement to the game are the two varieties of gameplay. In logic mode , you need to disassemble as much of the cylinder as possible. In dynamic mode. the tiles will replicate almost as quickly as you can remove them. Your job in this one is speed. You must remove the tiles faster than they replicate, or the cylinder will overflow.
In order to help you on your way, you will also find a few extra tools on the bottom of the screen. The double arrow is the swap button. You can use it to swap any two adjoining tiles. You can also use the X button to eliminate an unusable tile. Watch out though, because using either of these buttons will lead to a loss of points from your score. The ? button will show you a hint. Tap this button to highlight an available combination. To be honest, though, I was not sure why this hint button did not also result in a loss of points like the other tools in your arsenal. The final tool is the lock button, which will lock the cylinder in your current viewing angle to stop it from rotating.
There are a few other handy features, which allow you to make the game experience your own. None of these really make a difference in the game play itself, but they do make for a more enjoyable experience. For example, you can adjust the color scheme of the cylinder, choosing between three different color schemes. I did think it would have been nice, however, if you could design a custom color scheme of your own. Additionally, you can choose to replace the in-game sounds with music from iTunes, allowing you to continue using your media player while enjoying the game.
Finally, the game connects to the online OpenFeint system, giving you access to world wide leaderboards, forums, more. You are all probably well familiar with the OpenFeint system, as it has really taken the iPhone gaming by storm. I was, however, disappointed not to find any of the in-game achievements which makes the OpenFeint system so attractive.
I was really very impressed by this game. It takes one of the oldest gaming genres, color matching, and put a unique new twist (literally) on the whole thing. I love these kinds of quick and addictive games, which you can take with you anywhere, and fire up to fill those random seconds you find in the day. And just in case you reach the front of the line before you are done, just exit the game. You can resume right where you left off the next time you return.
ColorSwing as developed by Astalavista Games, and is available from the iTunes App Store for $1.99.