Of our review staff, I have the highest score in Bejeweled Blitz, and so it comes to me to talk about Swapples.
There’s no way around the fact that this is OMGPOP’s take on Blitz. It’s a timed match-3 game with identical powerups and multipliers, and the one major difference is that you’re playing against other gamers in realtime, rather than competing for leaderboard places.
Swapples looks fantastic, and OMGPOP’s typical bouncy art style works well for this sort of game. The graphics are large and clear and that’s always a plus for a match-3 game. You can always expect great presentation from OMGPOP, although the large size of the game area may put players with slower mouse speed at a disadvantage.
Games feel more difficult and are much slower paced than Bejeweled Blitz. The speed the tiles drop at is noticeably lower, and combos are rarely more than one or two chains long, so you won’t be racking up hundreds of thousands of points like Blitz allows. My top score was around 42,000, compared to over 500,000 in Popcap’s game.
The lower scoring rate does keep matches feeling competitive, and it helps to prevent players quitting mid-match. Its rare for one player to completely dominate a full, 6 person game, because its difficult to rack up the points fast enough, so most rounds feel much fairer.
For all that Swapples is a great match-3 game, it’s barely multiplayer. Players have no ability to affect or interact with their opponents in any way, and although the immediate competition is nice, there’s not much more to it than playing for the top place on a 6 person highscore table. We’re still waiting for a two player Flash version of a game like Puzzle Quest.
On its own merits though, Swapples is a solid recommendation for someone looking to play a few friendly games of match-3 without being prompted to spend real money every round.