G-Switch


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Rating: 4.4/5 (226 votes)
| Comments (17) | Views (50)

Mikemike-gswitch-screen1.jpgBrowser game heroes sure seem to be in a hurry lately, don't they? But from whatever tribulations they flee, whether it's from natural disaster, meteoric apocalypse, or a foe more brooding and nebulous, these protagonists could at least count on gravity to be, if not a friend, then at least a reliably neutral presence. Not so the vaguely-android hero of G-Switch, whose world seems to be defined by continuous, infinite momentum, such that jumping sends him inexorably and fatally upward, unless some floating platform can catch his doomed ascent. A one-button running game by Vasco Freitas, G-Switch takes the formula that made Canabalt so successful and adds an eponymous gravity-switching mechanic to create a twitchy, fast-paced experience with surprisingly zen-like results.

Control your robotic runner with either the [X] button or your mouse button, either of which will cause him to leap from whatever platform he is on to his inevitable death! Or unless another platform stops him, which will depend on your timing and agility. Gravity switches every time you jump, so that up frequently becomes down and vice versa. The game does the running for you, sometimes speeding you along at an impossible clip, and sometimes slowing you to bullet-time viscosity.

G-Switch offers a few modes of play. The default "Play" mode puts you through a pre-programmed gauntlet, with checkpoints and infinite replays. "Endless" is randomly, infinitely generated, and the goal is simple endurance. "Multiplayer" lets up to six players crowd around your keyboard to see who can survive the longest.

mike-gswitch-screen2.jpgAnalysis: G-Switch is a flawed masterpiece. The presentation is dandy, and I dig the shiny-future, Mega-Man vibe of the graphics and soundtrack. The gameplay is surprising: I was expecting some of the antsy, twitchy dread of Canabalt, but got nothing of the kind. It's quite difficult, and you are bound to replay certain sections again and again. You can't even rely on pure reaction, as there are some leaps-of-faith whose results only become apparent after a couple of run-thrus. But if everything is working right, and you've learned from your mistakes, suddenly the game instills a sense of peace and clarity far from the panic and doom of similar games. It's like parkour, or a rhythm game, as you leap from platform to platform with perfect grace and timing.

I say "If everything is working right." The flaws are in the controls. Maybe I just have clumsy hands of ham, but the controls, however simple, seem just a hair unresponsive, and for a game that depends on perfect timing, a hair can make the difference. Moreover, occasionally there seems to be a problem with platform detection. Sometimes you are supposed to run from one platform to a lower one (or higher one, I suppose) without jumping, which is to say, without any sort of input from you the player. At a very few such spots, this works inconsistently, such that you sometimes simply don't clear a spot you made the time before, having done nothing different. This finicky-ness, combined with too-infrequent checkpoints, makes replaying the same spot more about frustration than the relaxation to which the game aspires.

Oddly, the control issues are less a problem in "Endless" mode. While some of the random elements in this mode become obvious and repetitious, "Endless" generally seems less frustrating that "Play" mode, perhaps because you start with a fresh level after each run and aren't banging your head over and over against the same stubborn challenge. "Multiplayer" is much like "Endless" with more players, and is interesting in that the players collide, which gives rise to the whacky phenomenon of two androids running symmetrically against each other in mid-air.

G-Switch's flaws are a shame, because when it shines it really shines. More than just a clever combination of two well-tread game ideas, G-Switch is a reinvention. No longer do we have the sense that we must run from something in our running games. Now we can just run.

Play G-Switch

17 Comments

When I started the first level, I really liked the rain effects. I was hoping to see more of that. Sadly, the visuals did not really change at any point.

More variety to the visuals would make for a huge improvement. At the same time, increase the margin of error for most of the jumps, and include more frequent checkpoints. Do all three? You've got a fantastic game here.

The music and concept are pretty much perfect already, as are the graphics (For quality, not quantity).

-SirNiko

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TheMusicGirl Author Profile Page March 2, 2010 5:52 PM

Great game, but it reminded me too much of Sonic the Hedgehog, beside the gravity thing. I know, that's pretty harsh, seeing that that aspect was the main thing, but come on. Blue spikes? Blurred legs? I love me some Sonic, and I don't want to see his idea copyed. Probably a mistake. I agree, this could be a really good game beside the split second timing thing.

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Mystify Author Profile Page March 2, 2010 7:17 PM

yeah, the controls not responding spoiled what would have been a really fun experience.

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HolyMythos Author Profile Page March 2, 2010 8:00 PM

At first glance, it seemed fun. It was for the first few levels. Then I got to the first speed level and died a few times, but thought it was a nice change. Then I got to the next level and died 20 times in a row before I decided that if the game got that hard that quick, it wasn't worth playing the other half of it. Eh.

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Anonymous March 2, 2010 11:21 PM

You know, I have been aware for some time now that this is a particularly awesome site, but just lately it is occurring to me that this site is spectacular. Most excellent commentary, great games (many of which are freeeeee!) and generally all around well-designed and well-run site.

Thank you.

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Thank YOU kindly! ^-^

Seems we get our share of complaints, so it is so refreshing to get such a nice compliment as this. Thank you so much, everyone here at JIG really appreciates the kind words!

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Anonymous March 3, 2010 12:16 AM

Even though the game is short (not including all the re-do's you invariably will have to do), I wish there was a save feature. I hit Esc to the main menu, only to find all my progress obliterated. I thought the 6th segment impossible to beat, and didn't feel inclined to slog through the first 5 segments again to try again. Fun at first but it gets very very frustrating and unforgiving.

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Anonymous March 3, 2010 12:55 AM

The game itself is good. I enjoyed it for a little while. However, towards the end where you have to repeat the same section many, many times, it becomes unbearable. The only reason to keep going at this point is if you are one of those people who has a drive to finish anything that you start. Be wary if you are one of these people, or you may spend the next hour being furious with the unresponsiveness of your 'x' key.

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crashlanding Author Profile Page March 3, 2010 3:22 AM

methinks the problem isn't so much with platform detection as with speed. Running into things, even slightly, slows you down a tiny amount. If you're not going fast enough due to either hitting things or missing speed up patches, you simply can't make some of the jumps - even the ones with no player input. I rather like that factor of game play. This only really seems to become an issue in the last two sections of the gauntlet, though. I kinda love this game. It's a tad unforgiving at the end of the gauntlet, but the endless and multiplayer modes TOTALLY make up for that :D.

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Slanzinger Author Profile Page March 3, 2010 5:56 AM

This game is a perfect example of why I sometimes despise Flash, especially when used to make a twitch game. The reason? They just plain don't work. Every so often, in pretty much any flash game, there's just a stutter in the video. Meaning that even though you had what you were doing perfectly timed, the game doesn't realise this and throws you off a cliff. It's really bad, and happens in pretty much any rhythm-based game I could care to mention.

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I'm confused by folks who are complaining that the X key doesn't work. When I played, I found that if you hit X a second before landing, you'd jump immediately. From that perspective, it's working fine.

My only problem is when you have to make several jumps one after the other, which devolves to hammering the X key as fast as you can.

The controls are more than responsive enough. I think if you had a larger margin of error with which to experiment you would see this.

-SirNiko

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benjabby Author Profile Page March 3, 2010 11:26 AM

i find it very repetitive and "done-beforeish"
not done exactly, but done things so simmilar, this concept was sorta missed out, but it just seems, i dunno, weak...

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Buttons Author Profile Page March 3, 2010 7:21 PM

So, I loved this.

At least on my machine (which is too slow for some other games), it ran perfectly. The experience was frustrating at times, sure, but not really more so than VVVVVV (which I also loved). My deaths generally felt fair, at least relative to the rules of the game. The last section was brutal, but you eventually get into this Zen-like state where the timing just works.

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debaser Author Profile Page March 3, 2010 8:14 PM

Walkthrough

This took me forever to put together. Hope it helps someone.

wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;wait .5 seconds press x; wait 1.15 seconds, press x; wait .6 seconds, press x; wait 1.2 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait .1 seconds, press x; wait.75 seconds, press x; wait .15 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .65 seconds, press x; wait .8 seconds, press x; wait .14 seconds, press x; wait .23 seconds, press x; wait .25 seconds, press x;

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The controls work okay for me too, but I'm just terrible at this game. Like Mike said, it's not fun to play the same unbeatable sections over and over.

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This game is awesome!!!! How'd did you think of the idea?? It is so cool!

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