Disorder is a first attempt by the ridiculously named Swagabyte games that sounds interesting on the surface. It is an atmospheric puzzle platformer that uses a similar dual world mechanic as games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. It also has a vague allegorical storyline that is told through text appearing on screen during gameplay. While there are some decent ideas involved, the game unfortunately falls short of an interesting experience and I did not care for it.
To expand on the game’s storyline, it is supposed to be an allegory for our main character getting over the suicide of his younger brother and moving on. This sounds like a pretty mature theme, but there is a serious problem with how it is executed; it is way too cryptic and incomprehensible. Disorder does not have a plot more so than that it has you solving puzzles while listening to vague monologues by our unnamed character. There is no way to interpret said allegorical ramblings as relating to the theme of depression and suicide until you reach the end, and at that point your ending depends only on which world you are in when you complete the game.
Normally saying that would be a massive spoiler, but in this game it does not really count since there was nothing to spoil. There was pretty much no plot to begin with and, despite the game trying to convince you otherwise, the storyline has no more depth than a standard excuse plot. In terms of its presentation, the the spritework is fairly detailed but the music is just a bunch of ambient hums.
The gameplay consists of a fairly interesting use of the dual world mechanic where one needs to switch between 2 different worlds that inhabit the same space. One can pretty much switch between these worlds on the fly and using it in the middle of platforming segments is going to be necessary. There will be changes such as platforms moving in opposite directions or stopping in one world, hazards becoming harmless, or platforms appearing where there were none in the other.
Unfortunately there really is not much else to these puzzles. Most of them are really easy to figure out, and the game lasts only 2 hours long. Some of the puzzles were mildly engaging, but I never really felt like I was having all that much fun. It mostly felt like I was just going through the motions. Also the game has the tendency to abuse interface screws like taking away light sources and making the screen static-y. These are naturally, cheap ways of artificially increasing difficulty and are not good design choices, but the game still remains simplistic and easy despite this.
I really am struggling to find much to say about Disorder. It is playable, but it lacks depth or engagement and is a mediocre game overall. There are far more engaging titles that are done in this style. Specifically I’d suggest Nihilumbra, as it is very similar to Disorder in its approach, but is superior in nearly every way.
This review was originally posted to GameFAQs on March 9th of 2016 and has been updated for posting on this blog as a placeholder for my current review schedule. You can read my newer reviews one week before they are posted on Guardian Acorn if you pledge $1.00 or more to my Patreon account. New reviews are are posted every Monday. You can also follow this blog if you would like to be kept up to date on my stuff, or you could follow me on any of my social media pages (listed at the bottom of the page) and could stop by The Guardian Acorn Discord chat if you would like to talk to me and my homies.