Score as many points as you can by forming lines of three (or more) in a row.
SwapIt! is played with an 8 by 8 grid of objects. You must swap the location of two adjacent objects in order to create a row of 3 or more of a single object. For example, in the image below, making the swap indicated by the white arrow would create a three pears in a row:
Once you create such a group, the items in the group are removed, and you score points. The remaining items fall down to fill in the resulting empty spots, which can result in additional groups being formed and removed. New items are always falling in from the top of the screen, to keep the playing area filled with 64 items at all times.
The groups of three or more items must be in a row either horizontally or vertically. Diagonal groups are not allowed. Moves that do not result in the creation of a removable group are not allowed.
Each game of SwapIt! consists of up to four rounds, or levels. The number of different items increases with each level. Each level has a time limit of 60 seconds. Each level also has a target score:
If you reach or exceed the target score before reaching the level's time limit, you get a time bonus based on the unused time, and you proceed on to the next level. An alarm sound will alert you when you are down to your final 15 seconds. If time runs out before you reach the target score, the game ends. Just before displaying your final score, the game will highlight two pieces that you could have swapped.
The two colored meters to the right of the playing area show how you're doing. The "Time Left" meter empties as your time runs out, and your "Goal" meter fills as you score points toward your target score.
If you ever reach a position in which there are no legal moves, the playing area will be refilled with all new items, and play continues. There is no penalty for this, and the game clock stops while the playing area is refilled.
You will see many themes of items in SwapIt! -- candy, hats, road signs, and so forth. All games within a tournament will use the same theme.
Before the game begins, the "Start Game" screen allows you to make a music selection and background style for the game. At any time during the game you can turn the music on or off using the button on right side of the game window.
Click an item to select it. It will be highlighted. Next, click an object above, below, to the left, or to the right of the selected item. They will swap positions. Alternatively, you can click and hold one item, and drag it over an adjacent item to swap the two items. If the swap creates a group of three or more in a row of the same item, the group will be removed. If not, an error sound will play and the two items will swap back.
If you select an item and then change your mind, click on it again to unselect it.
At any time during the game, you can turn the music on or off using the button on the right side of the game window.
The first group that you make with a swap gives you 10 points for a 3-item chain, 20 points for a 4-item chain, and 40 points for a 5-item chain.
If more groups are created as the remaining items collapse and fill in, the points you get for these groups increase. For the second group created in the same turn, you get 15 or 25 or 45 points; for the third group created you get 20 or 30 or 50 points; and so forth.
If intersecting groups are formed, they are scored as two separate groups. For example, two groups of three that intersect in the shape of a plus-sign would be scored as a chain of 3 and then another chain of 3.
If you reach the target score for the level, you get a time bonus of 10 points for each second of time remaining.
You get more points for forming groups of 4 in a row, or 5 in a row, so keep an eye open for the opportunity to make those.
You also get more points for making two simultaneous groups. For example, by making a single swap, it is sometimes possible to form two groups of three in a "T" shape or an "L" shape. So keep any eye open for those, as well.
If you don't immediately see a legal swap, pick one of the items, and search around the playing area just looking for a match using that item. If you don't spot anything in short order, pick a different item, and repeat.
Groups formed near the bottom of the screen will move more items, and will therefore have a greater chance of setting off a chain of formation/removals.