Game review: 'Changed'
Changed, originally released in April 2018, is a surprisingly-difficult, action, puzzle game made by DragonSnow with background music composed by Shizi. While not overtly sexual, this game is certainly risqué with plenty of fetish undertones as, instead of deaths, your failures result in your transformation into a latex furry. Since June 2020, buying Changed will also give you access to English version of Changed-Special, the still-unfinished reworking of the original game which contains new rooms, transformations and some updated graphics.
The game has a simple plot; you wake up in a research facility where you have been kept unconscious for an unknown amount of time and have to escape while everything in the facility tries to transform you. As you go through the different rooms, you start to piece together the backstory from old newspapers, diaries, notebooks and other written material. Later on you will encounter other characters who will explain what has happened in more detail and who have their own motivations and goals.
In Changed-Special, the feeling of isolation is lessened as one of the characters, originally encountered near the end of the game, talks to you through various computer monitors throughout the facility. This creates a more hostile game. Personally, I am not a fan of the narrative shift as I think the more isolated approach works better and a shadowy, villainous figure on a monitor tends to be a little too cartoony.
Despite the simplicity of the narrative, and the translation issues as it went from Chinese to English, Changed has a very strong emotional core. All the characters are fleshed out with very justifiable motivations and, when the time comes to make a choice between them, it is not a simple decision. You will likely find yourself disappointed with the outcome as well, because, of the several endings, what most would consider the best ending is essentially a hidden choice.
The gameplay is a mix of puzzles and action sequences. Once you've worked out the trick, most of them become quite simple, but the speed and lack of explanation make it a challenge when you first play the game. Needless to say, failure results in a rubbery transformation. What I disliked when playing was that some puzzles got their difficulty by changing the rules of the game with no warning. For example, at one point you must travel through a nest of latex dragons. Up until that point, you and the enemies moved completely independently. In that area only, the enemies move when you press a button and otherwise stay completely still.
Changed-Special alters the original rooms somewhat and adds many new and varied puzzles. Generally this is a good thing but there are some changes which make certain puzzles worse. In the case of enemies that chase you, there is no extra random movement as in the original game. While that makes it more predictable, this also means that an enemy will get blocked by a single object between you and it and make no attempt to go around. In addition, certain maze puzzles which were originally fairly open have now been closed off to the point where there is only a single correct sequence of movements and no opportunity to try new paths.
Graphics and Sound
Both the audio and graphics are simple, but they do their job. I'm given to believe the sound effects are stock effects, but there is unique background music composed especially for Changed. The music is composed of chiptune tracks that hark back to early video games but successfully build tension during chase scenes and calm you down in the more relaxed areas.
The native resolution is unusually small, but can be scaled up. Despite this, everything you need to see is typically clear. The biggest issue with the display is that sprites (including your character) block your vision of tiles behind you, which can be a problem when trying to solve puzzles that require careful positioning. It can also be tricky to tell in which row certain objects are located, but that's usually a minor issue.
Transformation is one of the major themes of the game and they look pretty good. Most of them occur at the sprite level and only last three-to-four frames or so. It's a little rough, but it all fits the game's style and I rather liked them. Some transformations are done as full screen images with a lot more detail, and you will sometimes get full screen images of the after effects of your transformation. One difference that I noticed between the original game and Changed-Special was that some of the new transformations seemed to include bondage, with your character being restrained by their own tail or latex fusing their limbs together.
Is Changed worth playing? If you like furry, latex transformations: absolutely! If not, while it can be a lot of fun, it is not entirely polished. It is challenging but there are probably better games if you are only interested in the puzzles; a lot of the appeal of Changed is the transformations when you fail.
Changed-Special is still unfinished and cannot be recommended on its own. If you have finished the original game though, it's definitely worth checking out. If you want to help support the development of the game, DragonSnow has a Patreon page.
P.S.: In Changed-Special, you can pet the dog!