I love the laid-back vibe of match-three puzzle games, which is why Spirit Swap: LoFi Beats to Match-3 To immediately grabbed my attention. After launching a Kickstarter campaign last week, the development team Soft Not Weak has managed to already raise its goal of $75,000 in only thirty-five hours, almost a whole four weeks ahead of the campaign's end date of May 13.
The best thing about the campaign, though, is that Soft Not Week has released a free demo, showcasing how Spirit Swap plays. It's safe to say, after hours of matching symbols to its ethereal OST, it's a demo worth checking out.
You play as Samar, a young witch who has been stuck with the spirit-swapping night shift. You'll need to use your magical abilities, and match-three skills, to send these colourful spirits back to their own dimension. The demo takes you through one such night shift and you can choose between three game modes with different speeds: Chill, Unchill, and Oh Jeez Oh F*ck—which tells you everything you need to know about that particualr mode.
After getting my butt thoroughly kicked, I settle for the Chill mode and get lost in the colorful match-making grid and the gentle lofi hip-hop beats. The speed at which new symbols are introduced is just right and makes for perfect laid-back match-making.
Spirit Swap is different from other match-3 games in that it only lets you swap symbols horizontally. Although this seems limiting at first, you're free to swap around as many symbols as you like, unlike most match-3 games where you have to swap symbols into a correct match.
This freedom is refreshing for the genre and is accompanied by a charming animation of Samar and her frog familiar bouncing to the beat alongside the grid. The art in general is gorgeous, from the game's vibrant colour palette to the POC cast who are all queer as hell. Although the demo only demonstrates the match-three gameplay, the full game will also have a story mode, let you create bonds with characters, learn different spells, and decorate Semar's room with a variety of items.
You can check out the demo for Spirit Swap over on the game's itch.io page and if you'd like to support the game's development make sure to check out the Kickstarter. The campaign is well on its way to hitting the stretch goal of introducing a 'complex Hades-like narrative with even more romance options'—which honestly sounds amazing.