While you’ve been snapping off the Joy-Con for some multiplayer, swinging them about for motion controls, or using the Pro Controller, you may have not really noticed that the Nintendo Switch has a touchscreen that rivals that of any leading tablet. This opens up a world of games that thrived on mobile devices that can now find a home on Ninty’s little beauty. And more games is always a good thing, right?
Enter the oddly-named Green Game: TimeSwapper, an iOS port that is tantalisingly cheap to buy. Starring a flying, mechanical bird carcass which, move over Mario, is surely destined to become the new Nintendo mascot. The aim of the game is to navigate said bird through a maze of hazards using the touchscreen.
As soon as the bird is released from his cage he flies in a fixed direction forward. By sliding the dial on the screen you can turn on pipes that fire a gust of air that move you in a new direction. The slider also rotates certain pipes and opens and closes traps that pose a threat. Go the wrong direction and hit the wall or spiky trap and you’ll have to start the level again.
In each level, there are three collectable cogs, and the aim is to pick them up on your journey to the cage at the end. You can miss the cogs and still complete the level, but there’s always the option to come back and replay the level if you really have to get them all.
There are a generous 50 levels to complete, increasing in difficulty as you go with additional traps introduced like the rotating blade. Power-ups such as slow time and temporary invincibility make an appearance but often feel wasted by not really being in a position where they’d have an impact.
Sounds pretty good for such a low price. But there’s a fundamental problem. Controlling the slider with the touchscreen feels clumsy and doesn’t have the intricacy required to fire gusts at short notice like Green Game: TimeSwapper requires.
If you have a split second to turn on one by sliding it to the right, but have to then move it to the middle to close a trap door, you’ll often overshoot just because there’s no real precision to the slider. While there are only really three directions the slider needs to be in, it moves so quickly when you touch the screen you’ll often overshoot and have one more tally on the Death counter.
The frustrating thing is this wouldn’t be a problem if there was an option to use one of the plethora of control options of the console. If you could move the slider with an analogue stick or shoulder buttons the game could potentially be a blast. There just hasn’t been much consideration for the console it’s been ported onto, not utilising any of the features where the Switch shines, such as the dock or controllers. This really is what you get if you played it on mobile or tablet, which, unfortunately, isn’t really good enough.
It’s a shame, because the look of Green Game: TimeSwapper is pretty clean (and very green) and certainly has a unique style, although sometimes it can be too dark so you can’t see the certain pipes and traps.
An original look and a decent amount of challenging puzzles with some replay value are sadly let down with poor controls that turn this into a frustrating experience rather than a fun one. Maybe swap this one for a game more worth your time.