Swallow The Sea is a short, and by short I mean around 15 minutes long game by an indie developer. Consisting of two friends, the dev team created more of a short story game than anything else, and even the concept of a story is barely there, but for whatever reason I was compelled to play it.
Side scrollers are usually fairly interesting, but with a single two button control scheme, the game feels really strange at first, but if direct control existed for the game, it probably would be able to be completed in around 4 or 5 minutes. You control a weird egg-like cell that is controlled by the mouse, holding the left button down, you can move the cell through a dark eerie ocean. Equipped with a single dash move, you need to collect more cells to grow larger and break through barriers.
The game has a few enemies that you can’t really hurt, and the only way to progress is to just avoid and swallow up as many smaller cells and organisms to grow larger and be able to break through the weird walls to get to the next area. There are sharp bone-like points on the walls that can kill you if you take a few hits of damage, and initially when I booted up the game, I was not aware that I couldn’t kill anything. I immediately ran into the first enemy and he pushed me into the bone spikes, so I died. Naturally I respawned and tried to do the same to him by dashing into him and pushing him into spikes. I tried over and over and kept dying for around 5 minutes, before I got frustrated and turned the game off. I already knew the game was super short, so I was angry that I got stuck in the very beginning.
Combat is such a key thing to game mechanics, that when a game doesn’t allow you any offensive tactics, it is really strange and makes the gameplay more difficult… especially since you always assume that there must be some way to destroy the enemy attacking you.
So once I went back to the game, and learned that there was no way to actually hurt enemies, I just decided to run around the blue sponge trying to kill me and collected me cells and grew big enough to blow through the side wall that has now changed color to indicate that I can go to the next area. In the next area there were some more enemies like the blue sponge, but a few new worm-like creatures. Light blue worms attached to the walls of the caverns tried to attach to me and hold me down, while a much larger red worm swam towards me and tried to eat me with it’s skull extruding from it’s skin like the Xenomorph’s second mouth.
Upon the final area, a massive purple worm chases the egg cell through narrow caverns and both finally end up on some conveyor belt. In the background, you see more egg cells just like you, and other enemies you saw along the way, on other conveyor belts, in what looks like a processing plant. As the massive crushing block raises up to squish you, the screen cuts to black and credits roll.
The game is short, like I said, less than 15 minutes, and only one real action, along with moving around. It was free on steam, and short, so I had no problem playing this game. It’s got a very creepy gross look to it, that seems like the devs just pulled monsters out of a nightmare and put it in the game. While I am not really into these types of games, I think it’s interesting, and with the overall positivity of the reviews (most of which are stupid and don’t help at all, and is just a way for people to post memes and make bad/dumb jokes) I hope this game helps the devs get noticed and they can go work for a great development company, because it really was interesting and a joy to play… once I figured out that I couldn’t actually hurt the enemies and just needed to avoid them.