With Swap This! out in the Nintendo Switch™ eShop, we keep hearing some of the same questions. So we asked them all to Two Tribes creative director Collin van Ginkel and wrote down his answers. Enjoy!
Q: Why did you develop Swap This!?
A: We wanted to make matching games exciting again! When we started development, 7 years ago now, the genre was all about simple repetitive tasks and being rewarded with fancy animations. This is actually still the case… With Swap This! we wanted to create something more skill-based, requiring fast reflexes and tactical thinking. You still start by matching colors, but once you get the hang of it you’ll juggle multiple chain reactions in real time while deploying power-ups strategically. It all stems from the fact that you can swap any cube on screen whenever you want, opening up a sea of possibilities.
Q: You call Swap This! ‘arcade-style’, why?
A: We feel it this phrase captures the game’s spirit quite well. You need skill to play, it’s lightning fast, and you even have to beat giant enemy fish! Oh, and it costs only a few quarters… ;)
Q: Swap This! came out 7 years ago, but not really. What happened?
A: It’s a long story that we can’t dive into too deeply. We ended up doing a very small-scale release on mobile, then pulling the game just a few weeks later. Let’s say we were not happy with how the game’s release was handled, and we felt it didn’t get a fair chance.
After that it lingered in the Two Tribes treasure chest for a long time. We even tried to convert the game to a free-to-play model, but failed because the game is about real skill, not about buying your way to victory.
Q: Why bring it to Nintendo Switch now?
A: We’ve toyed before with the idea of releasing an updated version of Swap This!, but now the Switch offers us the perfect opportunity. It has a responsive touch screen, which is the best way to play this game, and a lot of Switch players are looking for skill-based challenges we feel. Additionally, there aren’t many matching games on Switch in the first place, so we felt the time was right!
Q: Can the game be played in TV Mode?
A: Definitely! We made sure to include a gyroscope-based pointer mode, which works surprisingly well. But the best way to play for sure is on the touch screen in Handheld Mode, where the game responds instantly to your input!
Q: What’s going on with all the fish and the ice cubes in this game?
A: We created an original underwater universe for Swap This!, with innocent tiny fish assaulted by violent mega fish as well as ice cubes from alien refrigerators. You swap ice cubes that have encapsulated fish, to break the cubes and set the fish free. Makes sense, right?
Q: Why did you choose the aquatic theme of oceans, beaches and fish, as well as the colorful graphics?
A: We wanted to convey accessibility, as anyone can pick up and play a matching game, but we also wanted to convey freshness. Because Swap This! brings something new and unexpected to the genre.
Q: Can you explain what the 4 game modes are all about?
A: Sure! Minute Match challenges you to get better and score more points within a 2 minute time limit. Wave Mode just keeps on rolling. Fish Fight has you beating giant enemy fish by breaking the ice in time. And Puzzle offers 45 brain-teasing ice-cube conundrums to solve.
Q: Finally: hey Two Tribes, we thought you were done making games?!
A: Well, we announced in 2016 that we wouldn’t develop any new projects after our sci-fi action game RIVE. This is still the case. But we also promised back then that we’d still support our existing games and fans, which is why we’ve been releasing titles from our back catalog on Nintendo Switch: RIVE, Toki Tori 2+, Toki Tori and now Swap This! Each one of these releases is the best version of that respective game, and each one feels quite at home on Switch.