New platforms always seem to have defining games, whether it's the original Xbox with Halo or the Wii with Wii Sports. While the iPhone's status as more than a gaming device means it doesn't really need this single must-own game (and the cheap prices mean triple-A quality isn't really necessary), Sway from Ready Fire Aim and Illusion Labs manages to nail the device's multi-touch display to create a game that seems like a perfect fit. If you're undecided over the iPhone as a gaming platform, look no further than Sway.
Sway is probably best described as a thinking man's platformer, except the running and jumping seen in the likes of Mario and Sonic have been replaced by swinging and grabbing. You play as one of a handful of loose-armed characters (more are unlocked for achieving certain goals on specific levels), who must swing from one side of a level to the other, collecting things and avoiding obstacles along the way. It's as if you're hanging onto a cliff face, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 2 style, although each of these cliff faces is floating in mid air.
It's the controls that make Sway so unique and in turn so much fun to play. Your two thumbs control your character's two hands (left thumb is your left hand, right thumb is your right hand - as you look), with gentle swaying motions from left to right on one side of the touch screen making your little guy sway from side to side. So you might start off by swinging while holding on with your left hand, moving the grip to the right hand, then perhaps letting go and flying through the air, grabbing hold as you jam your right thumb into the screen in order to mimic the lunging right hand of your character.
Early levels more or less see you swinging from platform to platform without much in the way of tricky obstacles, but soon enough you'll face moving platforms, spikes, perilous disappearing platforms and more. Generally the route from start to finish isn't all that hard, but in order to earn a gold, silver or bronze rating you need to collect a set number of items, and unlockable characters require the collection of three keys. Once you're used to the control scheme you could progress through the levels fairly quickly, but unlocking everything and earning high scores will take considerably more time.
Although visually simple, Sway has a charm about it that's missing in the majority of iPhone games. Your characters have unique looks and move with certain characteristics (ninja is fast, monkey is slow but with long arms etc) and the levels are bright and colourful. The music certainly isn't anything to get excited about, but it's lively enough and fits the tone of the game well.
Sway is one of the more expensive games available on the App Store (£2.99), but it's definitely worth that extra outlay. With brilliant use of the touch screen, cute visuals and perfect pick up and play gameplay, Sway is currently one of the best games you can get for your iPhone.