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Review: Switch Up – Pong for the iPhone Generation

Pong for the iPhone generation

Price: Free
Version: 2.o
Size: 34.1 MB
Developer: AJ Development

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Switch Up was recently updated to version 2 on the App Store, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to run through the modernized pong-style arcade game.

Like its old-school cousin, Switch Up employs panels, from which players have to bounce a ball back and forth. While in the past the two panels would move independently from each other, usually by two individual players, Switch Up has upgraded the game play.

Pass the ball back and forth between the moving panels

Pass the ball back and forth between the moving panels

Now, multiple panels continually pan up from the left of the screen, and pan down from the right. Starting from the left, the player has to bounce the balls back and forth between varying sizes of panels on either side as steadily, they begin to move faster and faster.

It’s a pretty relaxed start, but the gameplay ramps up so quickly that before you know what’s happening you’re tapping fast and furiously before the rhythm you’ve built is broken by a smaller panel coming out slightly later than that rhythm you’d perfected. Cue the ball sailing far over the top of a panel, and having to start again.

The panels move faster as your point ramp up.

The panels move faster as your points ramp up.

It’s the same kind of mentality as recent iPhone endless-running games like Flappy Bird (though inverted as the aim is to avoid the gaps), with the same kind of frustrating difficulty and addictive quality of something like Mr Jump.

The design’s had quite the upgrade too – as players bash the ball back and forth, the bold colors fade in and out, from green, to yellow to red – if the player gets a red panel. If they bounce the ball off one of these then double points will be awarded for the next few seconds until the color goes back to normal. For long-term players of Switch Up, this will be a new feature. Elsewhere, new sound effects and panels that change size as they move later in the game have also been added.

Hit the pink panel and you'll be rewarded with double points!

Hit the pink panel and you’ll be rewarded with double points!

It’s this simple design, and little tweaks to the dynamics of pong which makes Switch Up both very familiar, but also incredibly fresh. A highly playable game, super-addictive, and best played alongside a whole bunch of friends – it makes getting that personal best far more exciting.