ByJupiter Hadley, writer at
I am a YouTuber and writer of Indie Games. I cover many, many game jam games as well as smaller indie gems.
Jupiter Hadley

is a clever idea that combines toys and augmented reality into one awesome game! SwapBots are physical, collectible, toys that come in three parts — a head, a body, and feet.

These different pieces are interchangeable with each other so you can swap and change out the different blocks to make your own custom characters. Once you have designed your own little character, you can simply point your phone or tablet at it, while using the free app, to watch it come to life.

This toy then animates on the screen — suddenly equipped with swords, wings, or perhaps even tentacles appearing out of the creature. From there, you can go on an adventure in the app with your creation. There are mini-games, customizable little worlds, and tons of fun to be had with your own custom toy.

Playing with kids and grown ups

SwapBots is aimed at children, but adults who enjoy collecting things can also enjoy these toys. For children, there are a few benefits to having this toy; problem solving skills, digital learning, and imagination skills are all being practiced while playing.

Many parents don’t want their child in front of the screen too much, so engaging children in physical play with these almost LEGO-like characters that are magically enhanced with the app, is a perfect balance of screen time and physically playing in the moment. Your child can also play with the physical blocks and characters outside of the app, of course.

SwapBots are very affordably priced, with a completely free app to enhance play with, but the creatures are currently only available on Kickstarter.

I have done a lot of gaming with my younger cousins, naturally, as I grew up with them. They love video games, but my grandmother (who watches them often) tends to limit their online play. This resulted in them getting Minecraft mini characters and her sewing them some customised to their taste, handmade Five Nights at Freddy's stuffed animals.

This is a Minecraft Creeper Steve my grandma made (with a bandana)
This is a Minecraft Creeper Steve my grandma made (with a bandana)

I watched as they played with these toys, using their imaginations and acting out scenes from the game, or making up their own stories along with other toys they had lying around. My grandmother would also print off some printable square dolls from Minecraft allowing them to color the characters however they wanted and play with them.

As soon as I saw SwapBots I could just see them enjoying these characters with a smile on their faces just as much as the other physical toys they have. Unlike anything my grandmother could make, these toys will literally be in the game with them (when they are able to use the internet) before returning to reality and hanging out with them in real life.

I really hope SwapBots makes it’s Kickstarter goal and goes beyond, unlocking even more characters and fun to be had!


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