Swindler Game Review

Have you Ever Been Burgled by a Green Blob?

Swindler Game

Developed by Nitrome, Swindler is a challenging platform/puzzle flash game that’s based loosely around a robbery theme.

Not Your Average Flash Game

Browser based games are a mixed bag. There’s a lot of games around that’re quickly forgettable and downright awful. There are a few gems that wouldn’t be out of place being sold on Steam – and there’s everything in between. Swindler, for my money, is right at the top end of quality flash games.

It's a platformer with a twist. At the start of a level, you tie a bungee (that actually appears to be pulled from your head) to a pole and hang from it. You then use the up and down arrows to lengthen or shorten the cord. Pressing the right and left arrows actually rotates the entire level. Using these controls, you have to collect reach the chest at the end of the level. Optionally, there are stars to collect that will increase your score.

Your character is a green, gooey, almost starfish-shaped thing. The music certainly sounds appropriate for a robbery-themed game, however as with others in the genre (Droids Steal for Me) I'm not sure if anything else backs up the theme other than the name. What are you stealing from here? You're just collecting stars that are floating around. Oh, your green blob has a black eye mask.

At the end of a level you do at least appear to pick open a lock on a chest. I could be really picky and point out that a swindler is someone who cons others out of money, which certainly doesn't fit to the actions carried out within the game.

For a free browser games, the animations are really good. Your character reacts to each time you lengthen and shorten the rope (it actually climbs back up the rope, it's adorable), as well as when the level spins. Your character is also affected by gravity in a realistic way - as rotating the level will add movement while he's dangling. It creates a proper challenge without feeling unfair.

Your score at the end of a round is determined by a few different criteria - the number of stars you've collected, your speed, and even how efficient you were with the cord. This is great for people who really enjoy mastering platforming games.

Challenging Without Crossing the Line

Swindler Game: Game Play

Swindler isn't afraid to throw challenge at you. By the second level, things have already ramped up considerably. There are now giant, gooey balls that act as moving traps and will fly into you, consuming you, if you don't get out of the way quickly enough. The level design is pretty complex. Even before level five I was struggling to get through levels at the first attempt.

It’s quite deep in terms of mechanics, too. The yellow goo on the walls won't actually kill you if you bounce off it fast enough - instead it tries to reach out for you. This allows for calculated risk and plenty of different methods for getting around a level successfully.

One thing that does take some getting used to - lengthening the rope slows down considerably when your character is swinging. This can make timed movements tricky. Later on, you'll come across objects that you can pick up and drop, ranging from boulders to bombs whose fuse ignites if you make contact with a wall while you're transporting it.

There are switches that you can turn on and keep on by wrapping your cord around it. Other traps include blocks that blow you from side to side while you're dangling next to them as well as the platformer-standard blocks that deploy spikes when you come near them – although here they’ll also sever your cord if it touches them.

There are also enemies on some levels - not ones that just patrol a set path, no, that would be too easy. These ones track and follow you, forcing you to use speed rather than turtling through the levels - just to make things even harder. Thankfully, yellow enemies don't actually eat you - instead they just bounce you away at a hefty speed. Orange enemies on the other hand - they are harmless until they puff up into a ball of spikes. Nitrome have been really clever with the colours. Anything yellow is potentially dangerous but won’t actually kill you straight away. Anything orange, will. Anything green, like you, is there to help you.

One of my favourite traps are the orange-coated blocks that cover your cord with a slime that eats away at it - the developers are well aware that the game becomes easier if you turtle around the levels and tip-tap at the arrow keys, and they actively make sure that you can't beat levels by taking that approach the whole way through.

Final Thoughts

Swindler Game: Final Thoughts

I’m a fan. As a free puzzle platformer, it’s better than a lot of stuff that’s sold on Steam. Give it some extra work in the graphics department to make sure it runs at common gaming resolutions and it would not be out of place there.

As a robbery game? It doesn’t really fit the theme - so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll have to find a different green blob. One that actually knows what ‘swindle’ means.

Play Swindler

Review written by Ian Wakefield from integritas.link.

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