Double Switch

Developed By: Flash Film Works
Published By: Screaming Villains and Limited Run Games
Category: FMV / Puzzle
Release Date: 10.05.2019


Double Switch is a full motion video puzzle game that has you operating cameras and trapping villains in this remaster of the original 1993 title. Originally released for the Sega CD, Saturn, and Windows, it features well-known actor R. Lee Ermey and stars Corey Haim. Full motion video games, or FMV for short, were popular in this era and allowed for interesting stories from real life actors. Although the gameplay is simple, it is a truly hard experience, and is a unique look at a different time in gaming’s history.

You are a random protagonist who Corey Haim’s character, Eddie, has gotten in touch with to help him escape his basement prison while also capturing trespassers and goons who are running around this apartment complex. Several characters have their own motives and mini storylines that you will have to figure out from short clips while you put the pieces together in this crime mystery. With an Egyptian theme and the potential for hidden treasure there may be some sinister goings-on, and it is up to you to solve the mysteries that will be presented to you. With the story being delivered to you in short snippets that can be missed as you can only watch one camera at a time, it is difficult to understand everything happening unless you take the time to run through the game multiple times. Lucky for you, the game feels like an experience from the 90’s and is difficult, not on purpose, but because the controls and mechanics are so wonky. This means you will be making repeated playthroughs anyways if you seek out completion of this story.

The actual gameplay consists of you switching between the cameras that have been placed in this apartment building in order to catch a glimpse of the action happening around the place. Once you see a baddie roaming around you have to activate one of a set of three traps that you think they will be in the vicinity of. You will have tons of opportunities to catch the targets as they rapidly move from room to room, with several of the scenes being repeated. It all happens at random, for the most part, and so you need to memorize the scenes more than the order of operations. This makes for some frustration as game overs will be a common occasion for you as you scramble from camera to camera trying to stay above water. You will not be able to catch everyone, but you need to stay in a majority in the capture column, as each escape gets you closer to a restart. All in all, this isn’t really a fun gameplay cycle, as you are pretty much missing out on a lot of the story while running through this loop, and the story is really all the game has to offer you. Think Five Nights At Freddy’s — without the scare tactics, interesting mechanics, or engaging gameplay.

You will have three major acts in this one where you will have additional puzzles to solve outside of the basic loop detailed above. For example, in the first section of the game you will also have to keep an eye out for thugs revealing the code to the basement so that you can let Eddie be free. Again, this is all about being in the right place at the right time, and although there are some visual and sound cues, you really are just guessing and following the colored tiles that move on the room map to your left. Green is for tenants, yellow for intruders, and red for bad guys, so you will be watching, trapping, and moving on with these cues.

As you progress through the story you will find that you get into more of a rhythm, but there is quite the learning curve here. On a positive note, the remaster comes with a “How to Play” section on the main menu that really gives you a good rundown of how the game works and the various mechanics you will be dealing with. They definitely understood the game is a fossil when compared to today’s standards, and it was nice to see them allowing for some help rather than sticking to the old mantra of tossing you in and making you figure it all out on your own.

Being an FMV game means the graphics are pretty good, as it is live-action filming. The map and UI areas are simple and are mechanical in nature, so there isn’t a lot to play with in this section. Besides that, you have the 90’s aesthetic and film grain alone with the Egyptian theme throughout the apartment and with the characters, so all in all you have a good experience in this respect if you have any nostalgia for the 90’s. For some reason, it reminded me of the original live-action Power Ranger series, for absolutely no reason other than Corey Haim looks a bit like the blue ranger and the game has that sort of film quality.

At the end of the day, Double Switch is an interesting look into how games of this nature were made back in the day. Although they aren’t really a good experience in 2019, they have some historical value and the connection to modern hits like Five Nights At Freddy’s in UI and gameplay is interesting to compare. FMV games have had a recent resurgence with a couple of indie titles coming out recently, but overall you can tell why they moved on from these games. Simple, but hard gameplay, with a story you will mostly miss as you dash from camera to camera. Definitely not going to be for everyone.



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*The Switch Effect was provided a code for this game*