The new match-3 game Spirit Swap has been well-received via its Kickstarter campaign. It seems there’s quite a crowd interested in Spirit Swap, as the game’s Kickstarter hit its goal in 35 hours out of a month-long fundraiser. Spirit Swap actually has a demo available, but fans will have to wait until next year at least to get their hands on the full game. As for gameplay, Spirit Swap will be a match-3 style game set to lo-fi music that’s also got a narrative story about getting to know the main character, Samar, a demon witch, and their demon witch friends.
In an interview with Game Rant, the creative director of Spirit Swap, Alex A.K., discussed many different facets of Spirit Swap and their worker-co-op team, Soft Not Weak, developing the game. There are tons of different factors that have affected how Spirit Swap has come together in terms of match-3 gameplay and narrative storytelling. In fact, the original inspiration behind Spirit Swap as a whole may be a bit surprising.
According to Alex, the idea for Spirit Swap started back in 2019 when a different popular match-3 game, Sailor Moon Drops, was taken offline. They were devastated and questioned where they’d be able to find a quality match-3 game that also had “really cool fantasy world vignettes” at the same time. It wasn’t until a conversation with their roommates that the idea for Spirit Swap began to come to fruition.
Other match-3 games tend to be focused solely on mobile devices or have exploitative gacha mechanics, functioning as a “freemium” game where it may be free to play but there are tons of microtransactions. Spirit Swap will combat this by being a premium game at the start. There will be no hidden costs to unlock extra content because everything will be in the game from the beginning. As of right now, Spirit Swap will only be available for PC and Mac users, though the developer wouldn’t be opposed to creating console or mobile ports.
Match-3 isn’t the only aspect of the game though, as players take on the role of Samar who works at night as a spirit swapper. According to Alex, there will be “route-based gameplay” that starts in Samar’s bedroom (a customizable hub.) From there, players can explore the city of Demashq and build relationships with the roster of characters—some of which are even romanceable. The developer was heavily inspired by the narrative system in Hades, meaning they wanted to create a system that unlocks itself the further players get into the game and in turn, makes them want to keep playing.
Making friends, and possibly seducing them, also has match-3 benefits as well. If a player’s relationship with a character is high enough, the character will give them a keepsake that can be used during the match-3 game if it’s on display in Samar’s bedroom. These keepsakes can unlock special moves like wiping the board, changing the colors, or even autoplaying. It allows the experience to be customizable but also gives players a super cute keepsake to display.