Earlier this week, developer Two Tribes (famous for titles such as Toki Tori and RIVE amongst many others) teased an upcoming game. The collective mind of the internet used its almighty brain power to work out that it could be a Switch version of Swap This! - a puzzle game originally designed for iOS that was removed from the store some years ago.
Today, Two Tribes has officially unveiled the project, confirming people's suspicions that Swap This! is indeed coming to Switch, bringing its colour-matching puzzle gameplay along for the ride. The game is said to feature five super-charged power-ups and five distinct play modes to keep you busy, requiring fast reflexes and tactical thinking to be successful. Of course, the developer had previously stated that RIVE would be its last new game as a studio, yet here we are with another release coming to Nintendo's latest console.
The whole situation is certainly an intriguing one, so we decided to have a good catch up with Two Tribes co-founder Collin van Ginkel to learn more about the new game and see what's happening next for the studio.
Nintendo Life: Just in case any of our readers have missed out on the likes of RIVE and Toki Tori, could you introduce the Two Tribes team and tell us what you’re all about?
Collin van Ginkel: We've been around for about 18 years now, starting on Game Boy Color and ending on Nintendo Switch. As you mentioned, RIVE and Toki Tori are probably our best-known titles, but we've made dozens of games over the years.
As this is the first time Swap This! is appearing on a Nintendo platform, would you mind giving us an overview of the game?
The Switch will actually be the only platform you'll be able to play it on!
Swap This! is our attempt to make the matching puzzle game genre exciting again. We're describing it as an Arcade-Style Puzzle Experience, a game where gaming skills such as fast reflexes and strategic thinking actually count for something. The gameplay is still about matching colours, but once you get the hang of it you'll be juggling multiple chain reactions in real time while deploying power-ups strategically. It's quite frantic, and there is always room for a better strategy or to improve your reflexes.
Swap This! was actually released on iOS several years ago, but was then removed from the store if we remember rightly. What are the reasons behind bringing the game to Switch after all this time?
This is true. Unfortunately we ran into a problem with the game's publisher, which resulted in the game only being available for a few weeks before we pulled it. Over the last several years we've been toying with the idea of releasing the game again in an updated fashion, and the Switch was the perfect opportunity to do so.
Swap This! asks players to bring their best gaming skills to the table, which fits the Switch audience perfectly. It just feels great to play the game in your hands on the Switch's responsive touchscreen.
The Switch has become a fantastic console for fans of puzzle games. How will Swap This! stand out from the crowd?
Puzzle games are usually quite slow, but Swap This! is a fresh and frantic experience. The gameplay is several layers deep, each layer unfolding as you keep playing. After a few rounds you'll start to discover the game's deeper systems, such as the hidden Close-Up mode or cutting off parts of the playing field with extended chain reactions.
We assume the game will be designed for use with the Switch’s touchscreen, but will those who prefer to play with a more traditional controller setup have an option, too?
It's definitely best played on the touchscreen, where the game responds instantly to your input. Having said that, we know not everyone prefers handheld play, so we've implemented a pointer mode as well. It works surprisingly well, but the experience depends a lot on the quality of the TV and its settings. We recommend touchscreen play, that's for sure!
How did you find the process of bringing the game to Switch? You’ve released plenty of games on Nintendo platforms now, so are things relatively straightforward these days?
From a technical standpoint, Swap This! uses the same engine as RIVE and Toki Tori 2+. So that means we had it up and running quite quickly.
Most of the time was spent tweaking the game to perfection. Since reflexes are so important in Swap This! we've been tweaking countless settings up to the millisecond to make sure it plays buttery smooth throughout the experience. We also added Wave Mode, which has quickly become my personal favourite of the 4 included modes in the game.
The last time we spoke to you, the Two Tribes team looked set to go their different ways, with the studio confirming that RIVE would be its last new game. But now you’re back! To put it bluntly, what’s happening here? Can we expect more games going forward?
Thanks for asking, we've been meaning to clarify this for a while now. When we quit we said we wouldn't make any new games, and this is still true. If you look at our output on Switch the last two years, we've been only releasing improved versions of our existing games. Swap This! is no exception, it's just a game that a lot of people haven't heard about before.
The release of the game has arrived pretty out of the blue (the first tease we saw was only earlier this week). Is the Switch version of Swap This! a relatively new project, or was the intention always to surprise fans near launch?
It was a conscious decision to announce it close to release. We know a lot of people are sceptical about this type of puzzle game, and we feel the need to prove that Swap This! really is a fresh arcade-style puzzle experience. Instead of telling people it's great, we want them to experience it for themselves.
If you had to describe Swap This! in just one word, what would it be?
Any final words you’d like to share with our readers, or anything in particular we should look out for when playing the game?
I really hope everyone will give the game a chance. The genre is quite stale, but I really believe it's a game that will surprise you with its hidden depth!
We'd like to thank Collin for his time. Swap This! launches exclusively on Nintendo Switch on 2nd November for $1.19 / €1.19 / £1.09. Pre-orders are available from the Nintendo Switch eShop right now.