Here is this week’s random purchase: Verlet Swing. Not knowing anything about it other than the attractive sale price, this was swiftly added to the ever-increasing library. Is it any good? Time to ‘swing’ into action. I thank you.
Verlet Swing is a game about swinging. No, not what uncle Charlie and aunt Judy were talking about when they were telling that bowl of keys anecdote last Christmas, but the kind of swinging that launches you from one point to another. Think Spider-Man, and there’s your selling point.
You’re an unknown entity, and there’s no plot as such other than to swing. Sounds simple, and simple usually means good with these type of games but is it though? Yes and no. This had the potential to be a lot of fun, but the controls are somewhat frustrating and finding the right angle and distance to thrust across the screen isn’t as straightforward as it should be.
In simple terms, you fire your swinging device onto any object in each of the levels so that you can reach a goal. If you hit the deck, it’s game over. There isn’t a set path that you have to take and as you can look at Verlet Swing, from Digerati Distribution, as a timed challenge, finding the fastest route is always an option. But that’s not the real challenge; the real problem is sticking with it as it’s quite irritating.
It’s a shame then that while the setpieces are in a Dali-inspired environment, offering a hazy if trippy vibe, not being able to cling on to another object mid-swing or being carried off by some random bubbles into a pizza fun isn’t as fun as it sounds.
Arguably, taking into consideration the dream-like landscapes, Verlet Swing could have benefitted from being a procedurally drawn environment as there’s nothing coherent here. That said, when you struggle on the first half dozen challenges simply because you can’t get the controls to work, makes me think, why bother?
Verlet Swing isn’t a bad game, but the controls do let it down. Perhaps I would have got a little further than where I finished if it was a little more forgiving, but that ship sailed after the umpteenth time hitting the deck when I couldn’t connect to another object mid-air. Apparently, this game ranked quite highly with PC gamers, but I think that’s down to the controls. Having a mouse and keyboard would by far be a better experience, and perhaps change my rating for it.
As for redeeming features, the soundtrack is pretty good. I understand that the genre is vaporwave, but to my ears, it’s what the 80s sounded like but with slightly better production. The point, I’m sure you are thinking, but I wasn’t clued up on what the label was, just that I enjoyed it along with the visuals.
Though the graphics aren’t remotely cutting edge, they have an element of nostalgia for anyone from the 80s or reliving is as part of a retro branded theme (thanks to the likes of Stranger Things and many other mediums that celebrate the decade). Lots of pinks, neons, VHS and arcade cabinets sound like bliss, and in some abstract way, it is. But… it’s those darn controls.
My advice would be to play this in docked mode and use a pro controller or similar if you have it. I recently purchased the HORI Split Pad Pro – Daemon X Machina Edition and already have been feeling the benefits. It improved this game ever so slightly. However, the sensitivity and consistent latching onto objects beyond where you were aiming still exist, just the edge is taken off somewhat.
Even with the controls being corrected wouldn’t make this a high scoring game in my opinion, but it would take it up a star. It’s not unplayable at all, but considering the urgency of trying to set a decent time and then have the mechanics fail you, test whether you have the patience to stick this one out. Evidently, I don’t.
The lure of an online leader board and additional challenges isn’t enough as the fundamental issue was the targetting of points to swing from. Sure you can adjust the controller sensitivity, change the invert and even adjust the tilt, but it doesn’t translate into the gameplay. I felt bad writing this up, so when back to try again just to make sure I wasn’t being too hasty in my critique but found that I had the same issues.