“You are a lowly egg cell journeying through a swollen sea of strange and humanoid fish. Prey on smaller life, growing larger and stronger to perhaps someday be born.”
Usually the birth of any life gets seen as a wonder that Mother Nature gave to all the creatures on Earth. However, the team behind “Swallow the Sea” decided that it wants to show the horror that lurks behind it. You play as a lone egg cell of an unknown nautical species, trying to come to life. To get enough strength to grow, you have to devour all entities that are smaller than you. Of course, the same rules apply to all the bigger beings in this area, and so they want to consume you.
Gameplay-wise “Swallow the Sea” seems to be inspired by titles like “Osmos” or “Agar.io”, but as it is story-driven and features a much darker scenario as well as ‘characters’, it still stands out. The design of the monsters is horrifying, even though there are no hyperrealistic visuals used. Instead, the sole design concepts themselves evoke the scary nature of the creatures. Especially the skull-faced fishes and the long sea worm, which seems to wear the skin of a human face as a mask, will haunt my thoughts for a while.
That is one big atmospheric strength of “Swallow the Sea”: It uses the players’ imagination to create the suspense. With fantastically crafted pixel art, mysterious sounds and melodies as well as narrow tunnels, which act as the main level design element, it is a horror game of the different kind. So give this captivating game ten minutes of your lifetime and you might witness the miracle of birth. Or nearly, at least.