Swingaling and Nerdzilla Hands-On-Preview

We recently went hands-on with two upcoming pick-up-and-play titles from Pocket Monkey Games: Swingaling and Nerdzilla. While the company’s previous efforts (Champion Archer and Sparta) may have taken themselves a bit too seriously, we feel this new direction has lots of potential in the casual market. Read on for our impressions.

Admittedly nerds ourselves, we hesitated at first when hearing about Nerdzilla. The game is basically whac-a-geek, where you slap taunting nerds as they pop their heads up from the desk while keeping your hands off the popular kids. If a nerd has pimples, you hit them twice, and some even move books up and down in front of their face as a mocking shield. This angered us, so the punishment didn’t feel too undeserved.

Each level of Nerdzilla is set in a different class, so different types of scribbles on the desks will appear. Some of the finer details, such as the slapping animations, are quite funny. The game is OpenFeint enabled, so players will get all of its perks such as achievements and leaderboards. Nerdzilla has been submitted, so hopefully it should be out soon.

Even more interesting, though, is Swingaling, best described as a simplified minigame that builds off the Bionic Commando swinging mechanic. You play as a circular furry animal with an extendable arm that it uses to grasp onto canopy branches. After doing so you are swung back and forth, and you must tap on the next branch in order to proceed. Hitting the bottom of the screen or an enemy ends the game.

This is one of those games that does a good job at doing just one thing. The ‘one more try’ factor was definitely there for us, and OpenFeint integration meant we could compete with other players. Plus, the game is rendered in the great hand-drawn art style unique to many of Pocket Monkey’s games. Swingaling is slated for release later this month, and we are curious to see how it fares with the casual gaming crowd.

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