Swap Heroes 2 ($2.99) by Christopher Savory is the sequel to the original Swap Heroes game that came out last October. If you enjoy strategic RPG games like Terra Battle, or were a fan of the original, then Swap Heroes 2 will be right up your alley. It’s also a huge improvement over the first game, which is a welcome change.
I play a lot of games on my iPhone — it’s the best way for me to pass the time if I am bored or have nothing to do. While I usually enjoy puzzles or quick arcade games, every now and then I will dive into a strategy game, especially if it has a dash of RPG in it. When I play games, I still want to think about tactics and have a sense of progression over time, so I was intrigued when I heard of the new Swap Heroes 2, considering that the first was a roguelike. With all of the improvements made, Swap Heroes 2 is just an overall better game.
The graphics in Swap Heroes 2 are gorgeous, and reminiscent of the first game. There are several different environments that you will explore on the journey — each one is colorful, vibrant, and rich in detail. The character and monster sprites are still dressed up in retro fashion with a 16-bit art style, and animations are buttery smooth on my iPhone 6. The game also has an adventurous chiptune soundtrack that is a delight on the ears, especially if you’re a fan of the genre. To top things off, the sound effects that come with each attack are a nice touch.
As I’ve mentioned, Swap Heroes 2 comes with a new progression system. While the original had you fighting waves of enemies in different environments, there is now a world map of four main areas that contain two levels in each for you to beat. In order to clear a stage, there is now an objective of defeating 25 enemies, which only gets harder as you advance. There are now three difficulty levels as well, which will get you more bonus stars if you can clear them on a higher difficulty than “Standard.” Due to these changes in the game, there is much more replay value.
So what are the stars for? Essentially, you will want to get as many stars as you can, because they can be used to purchase stat upgrades for your entire party, which can mean all the difference in the world when it comes to more challenging levels. Additionally, you will need 10 out of the 12-star maximum to unlock the final boss, so if you are a perfectionist, you’ve been warned.
However, if you played the first Swap Heroes, then the combat system itself hasn’t changed and you should be familiar with the mechanics. For newcomers, it’s pretty simple. You control a party of four members of different classes, and the formation consists of three in the front (attack) and one in the back (healing). The game is turn-based, and during your turns, you must swap the positions of two heroes to have the party attack. Whoever is in the back won’t be able to attack, but they will use their special ability when swapped back to the front line. Once you make your turn, the enemies will take theirs, and their actions involve moving closer to your party and attacking (even from a distance).
Some enemies will have special attacks that can stun your team members, and if that happens, you can’t swap that hero until the next turn. When you take things like this into consideration, each decision you make is crucial and there is no room for sloppy mistakes. It’s also important to take note of the biggest threat to the party, and eliminate that enemy first if you can.
The game starts you off with four different heroes, but you unlock more as you flourish. Each hero has their own unique traits and abilities, so I would recommend tinkering around with your team to find the combination that fits your play style the best. If you’re able to beat Swap Heroes 2, then you can unlock the new Endless mode, which gives you more things to do once the main game is done.
In the end, Swap Heroes 2 is fundamentally the same game as the original, but with several structural changes. While some may not see this as something worth paying for, these changes make a lot of difference in how the game is played and enjoyed, so I haven’t been disappointed. It just takes a good formula and adds some refinements to it, making it even better than before.
Personally, I would recommend Swap Heroes 2 over the first one for fans of the strategic RPG genre, as well as anyone who wants to see progress in their game. You can get Swap Heroes 2 on the App Store as a universal download for $2.99. The original Swap Heroes is still available as a universal download for $0.99.