Swigian is a minimalist game (as its blurb states), though not quite a miniature. It got me thinking and doing some research when finished, and I still easily had time to spin through the game a second time before one hour was up. Research, because this story stems from a well known mythology that you might not recognize at first. A single word near the end will clue you in.
Don’t read until after playing:
That word is “Beowulf”, but in this game you apparently are playing as Grendel. I don’t know the Beowulf story well enough to know where Swigian fits in exactly, but I’m sure some reviewer will be able to shed more light. “Swigian”, according to cursory research, is an Old English word that appears in Beowulf and means “to be silent/quiet”. That ties in with the game’s opening line, “I don’t like talking”, and of course with the succinct verbiage, but there may be more to it. I suspect it is a canonical characteristic of Grendel, at least.
Minimalism is not uncommon to see in IF, but here it is very well-justified to get inside the mind of the player-character. I found it fairly robust as well, occasionally witty, with many stock answers of the parser being changed to something more appropriate. The sparse feedback generally serves the game well, directing the player to effective commands in a natural way. I thought it got a little dicey in one scene (mountains) that I didn’t quite understand, but I did make it through the area the first time, if only by luck. I also ran into a few cases–typical of sparse games–where descriptions or responses to certain manipulations of objects or scenery didn’t quite make sense after something else was done or upon some action being repeated. But that’s just a lack of testing or most testers staying on the rails.
Especially when finished–if that makes sense–I enjoyed this game quite a bit. I think it might be worth it for the author to shore up a few things and perhaps invest more completely in the POV, and then do an update. The problems were relatively minor, but probably worth another polish before this game is put up on the IF shelf.