Changed is what you’d call a weird game, and that’s because it was originally built to have the focal point of the transformation fetish, in particular the furry latex transformation subfetish.
If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, that’s not exactly the type of thing that would drive sales or positive reviews, much less very positive reviews, quite a decent number of sales for the couple of months it’s been for sale and a fandom built to go with it. And it was made with RPGMaker.
So what gives? I’m certainly not into this transformation stuff so that’s not going to be the focus of this post.
The story isn’t about you. You’re actually a fairly blank character with not much detail about you in this game, only the name ‘Lin’ or ‘Colin’ depending on translation. The most fleshed out character in the story is called Puro, and he’s one of the monsters that try to turn you into one of them. The success of the story revolves around Puro rather than your character, as he’s relied upon to get you past tricky parts of the game, although he’s certainly no knight in shining armor.
When you first meet him, you get some cheeky comments about how disappointed he is, as he thinks you’re too weak to be worth bothering to assimilate as a host. He actually reveals that his helpful notes were part of his original plan to trick you into position, but his disappointment is what turns you into an ally; having been let down by his original plan, he starts working with you to escape together. It’s a delicate relationship, and if you care about spoilers, you should probably go play the game first before reading the rest of this post.
Puro is extremely sensitive in the game and doesn’t show how he really feels most of the time. Little things like not thanking him for helping you out or saving you will result in his confidence depleting, leading to a bad ending early on. Failing to bond with Puro turns him into a strange, caring enemy that doesn’t trust you enough to let you try and leave the facility, and assimilates you for your own protection. Your primary goal is to try and convince Puro that you’re able to complete the game, or he won’t let you.
The bosses and puzzles can be extremely difficult, and running away from enemies leaves absolutely no margin for error, you either land the sequence for running away in a maze correctly or you instantly die, there is no health bar. In such a brutal game, you’re completely relieved when you encounter the first NPC that doesn’t just want to instantly end your game. As the stages go on, Puro becomes more useful as your companion. While only acting as an advice giver at the beginning he quickly becomes an ally that blocks monsters from attacking you, baits dangerous monsters away from you and throws you over large groups of enemies to safety.
This culminates in the last big crossroads of the game, where he fights an intelligent, hostile character to save your life, but the effectiveness depends on your previous bonding with the character. If you haven’t been sure to pay attention to Puro until now, you’ll return to find that he’s been murdered while trying to save you, resulting in a catastrophically bad ending where you’re hypnotised and subjected to forced transformation treatment. If you made the right choices, he’ll instead wake up from unconsciousness and you can complete your escape.
When the endgame choice is made to you, you’re given two pretty awful decisions to choose from which both result in bad endings:
- Escape with Puro, knowing that he doesn’t have long to live as a parasite without a host, before collapsing in a cutscene that implies your character dies and Puro soon after.
- Stay inside the facility, leaving Puro to exit alone, where it is implied his short lifespan and no assistance results in his death, while you stay with what could be called the antagonist of the game.
Neither of these options are enjoyable, and with the game focusing so hard on making you and Puro rely on eachother, you can’t help but feel terrible that his character doesn’t do so well. The solution is in the form of a hidden true ending that requires you to have paid attention to the notes at the beginning of the game. Upon activating it you can volunteer to undergo a transformation in return for immunity to disease, keeping your consciousness and Puro being given an extension to his lifespan so that he can stay your friend.
It’s a heartwarming ending, but is left on a cliffhanger when your character collapses, unused to their new body and weary, not replying to Puro calling your name while the game fades to black, leaving it ambiguous as to whether you made it or not. It’s a final stab in the heart from the creator, but it does a good job at making you think about how you feel towards your companion throughout the whole game.
And he makes a pretty believable friend, he doesn’t always say or do the right thing, or feel the most stable about things, but he’s still determined to follow you on your quest. It’s mentioned several times that he’s at risk of being attacked by the other monsters, and the fear is very real, his shocked reaction face when you reach a game over is just an example of it.
It’s kind of in the same vein as games like undertale, your character is more of a blank sheet, but you’re going to wish you had friends like the characters in games like these.