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Switchball is a 3D action-puzzle game made by Swedish developer Atomic Elbow which was released for Windows in June 2007, on Xbox Live Arcade in November 2007, and on the PlayStation Network in September 2009. The game features impressive aesthetics and graphical detail in addition to a realistic physics engine, all utilized in the lengthy single player campaign as well as the brief two-player cooperative mode. While appearing at first like any other marble rolling game, the twist on the genre found in Switchball is the ability to transform into other materials and gain additional abilities or properties for solving puzzles.


2-player individual-levels run in 0:12:03.39:

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Level name Time Date Player
Level 1 0:01:50.18 2010-12-09 Adrian 'InsipidMuckyWater' Feiertag & Richard 'Reech Reynolds' Crismore
Level 2 0:02:29.90 2010-12-09 Adrian 'InsipidMuckyWater' Feiertag & Richard 'Reech Reynolds' Crismore
Level 3 0:02:54.69 2010-12-09 Adrian 'InsipidMuckyWater' Feiertag & Richard 'Reech Reynolds' Crismore
Level 4 0:04:48.62 2010-12-09 Adrian 'InsipidMuckyWater' Feiertag & Richard 'Reech Reynolds' Crismore

Author's comments:

Intro (by Adrian 'InsipidMuckyWater' Feiertag):

Thank you for watching this run. This is Rick's and my first two-player speedrun, and it is also Rick's first speedrun in general. Be sure to check out the audio commentary when you get a chance. I have the louder, deeper, and sexier voice, while Rick is the bashful mumbling geek. No but seriously, I'm the loud one who unfortunately never stops talking.

Each person's half of the comments were written separately, however I am compiling them so I may on occasion borrow or refer to Rick's. While we planned to record the audio over Xbox Live, the run was not finished until shortly before our winter breaks, so we decided to record it while we were together in the same city. Speaking of recording, my half of the run (the white ball) was recorded on DVD, while Rick's half (the black ball) was recorded on VHS. Hopefully the quality difference is not terribly noticeable. Anyway.

There's no need to ramble on before getting into the specifics of any level, so we'll get right to the comments.

---Level One---

Richard 'Reech Reynolds' Crismore says:

I'd just like to start off by saying I usually had the easy tasks here. You'd be amazed how often I got stuck in those taxis and couldn't get out. The first part is just moving your ball around the path, and it should be easy but I did slide off more than a few times. I continue along the path and place myself above a fan, while Adrian does the hard work of pushing the ball down and into the track. Next I fall down a huge slope and use my ball to block Adrian's ball from falling off the edge.
The next big boxes were a pain in the ass for Adrian to move because they would either not move all, move only slightly, or there would look like enough space to move between them but there was not. I had to quickly pass Adrian so that I could get into position and use my ball as an extension of the bridge. This avoided the hassle of moving the bridges entirely. When Adrian pushed the lone box into the spot where my ball was, all I had to do was cross and the level was finished.

I bumped the wing of the taxi but luckily it was hardly a difference maker, time-wise.

Adrian 'InsipidMuckyWater' Feiertag says:

I'd just like to start off by saying Rick usually had the easy tasks here. Ha. This level was actually recorded last, because I realized the shortcut at the end, where Rick acts like a bridge for me, while I was watching our replays one day. When we tested it, we realized it could work, so we had to revoke our “finished” status from the whole run. But it was worth it: we ended up saving about ten seconds from that shortcut itself, and we must have improved our level of play while working on the later levels because our submitted version of this level was an additional ten seconds quicker beyond that (twenty total).

That hill part BLOWS. This was responsible for probably 100-200 failed attempts, by itself. We decided it was quicker for me to push the NPB (non-playable ball) down the hill myself so Rick could situate himself on the fan before the NPB reached him; however, getting the ball to go straight down the hills without falling off and without someone down there to catch it for me, with haste, was terribly difficult. Despite the many failed attempts at this stage, the first level was way easier than the third or fourth levels.

We implemented another shortcut by having Rick slow me down on the tall hill instead of pushing a box to the bottom of the hill. As for the bridge section: this went pretty well. It takes Rick awhile to come up to the little platform because he has to approach the ramp from the opposite angle, and this game is all about momentum. So this was not a mistake. But, Rick is still responsible for the first mistake of the run. Enjoy watching him bounce his face against the wing of the exit taxi. Ahaha. Good times.

---Level Two---

Richard 'Reech Reynolds' Crismore says:

In the first part we part ways so that I can turn the fans off while Adrian turns into an airball. He then opened the gate so I could enter. Then I turn into a metal ball to move the big blocks which are blocking our path. Getting pulled by the magnet allowed for faster travel, and it was faster and easier to allow my ball to “die” instead of rolling back to change to a normal ball.

This next part I just play catch up and I have to go ALL the way around to open the gate for Adrian. Now I have to push the box under the “teeter totter” while Adrian turns into a metal ball. Adrian supports the other end so I can just push the ball across and onto the fan button. This took me about a hundred tries but I got it eventually as you can see.

Adrian 'InsipidMuckyWater' Feiertag says:

This level is so serene and beautiful. Ahhh. Doesn't it just calm you down?

This level was technically recorded first, and it was the easiest level to finish. That's probably because there are very few shortcuts on which speedrunners can capitalize. In fact, we play the level almost exactly the way two are intended to play it except for when we use the magnet to boost Rick's speed, which itself does not save a ton of time. We use this trick twice: once to pull Rick toward the magnet, since he is headed toward it anyway, and again after he has shifted the big boxes so that Rick becomes stuck to the magnet, which resets his ball to the way it was as it passed through the checkpoint. This is quicker than using the transformer to revert.

The only other place where even an OPPORTUNITY to shortcut exists is at the seesaw. There are many factors that can be fudged here. We could BOTH become metal, neither of us could become metal (this ultimately does not seem feasible), we could let one person push the box as well as become metal, we could divide these tasks, we could avoid using the box altogether, etc. Both turning metal wastes time, and letting one person push the box and transform would save some time up front but would lose almost that exact amount of time later, and avoiding the box is more trouble than it's worth.

Anyway, it's funny how the game glitched up and didn't seem to think I boarded the exit taxi. I love watching this part, because it's a photo finish. I SHOULD have crossed well before Rick, but I got caught on some little trim on the taxi. I have no idea which ball the game thinks crossed last; I used to think it was me, but after watching it from both angles several times, I feel it could have been either because the game may have believed I crossed over the trim just by being stuck on it (which has happened before). So, if you have grown tired of the Greedo vs. Solo debate, try and figure this one out.

---Level Three---

Richard 'Reech Reynolds' Crismore says:

This was the hardest level in my personal opinion. And it's mostly because of these first boxes. All we had to do was make a bridge with the boxes but if it was off just slightly it wouldn't work at all. It's supposed to be done with three boxes and one of the player balls, and then the fourth box is pushed down to complete the bridge for the second ball. We did it with three boxes for each to save time.

Adrian turns to metal and acts as a bridge so that I can pass and hit the magnet button. This also took an insane amount of tries for both of us. This next area of hell took probably a million tries due to timing and positioning. I turn to metal, fall down the ledge at the same time Adrian moves up the teeter totter. This bounces him onto the blanket to make his way to the fan button so I can cross. This has to be done perfectly to continue.

Adrian had a stroke of genius in figuring out that we could set up the boxes in such a way as to allow the airball to lift itself up against the wall and onto the other side. Adrian had to do the same, and then it's time for hell once again. The planks at the end were all about timing, and it was really disheartening to make it this far and then screw up at this part. But once you cross the level is over, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Adrian 'InsipidMuckyWater' Feiertag:

While I would say that the fourth level was technically the most difficult, we both disliked this level most. Not sure why. Probably because it's waaay too hard for how long it is. The fourth level took longer to record because it's a longer level with more opportunity to screw up. But this level was almost as difficult, despite being much shorter, because at every single stage we had a disproportionately high chance of error, glitch, or bad luck. After all, this ended up being our worst segment.

So, with that damn box thing, we went with three boxes because it saves a decent amount of time not to bother pushing that extra box off the ledge and into the bridge. But god did we pay for this shortcut. Easily the number one mistake-causing thing in our run, believe it or not. The boxes tended to shift all the time for no freaking reason and half the time we could not equally space them out (and once they are against the wall, you can almost not move them), and so either Rick or I would fall off. A lot.

The next shortcut was having me fall off as the metal ball once Rick hopped across. It's another example of where respawning is quicker than backtracking. Note that Rick has to take big lead-ups to each jump in the gap, because the gaps are stretched apart about as much as they can be. The next part is cool because it's the only time in the game where one player acts based solely on an audio cue: once Rick hears me transform, he then pushes the button to activate the magnet (the magnet's duration is timed, and this is the earliest moment it can be pushed while giving me time to cross). Also, notice that I managed to gravitate across to the magnet in such a way as to land in FRONT of it. If you do not practice this, you will land behind it and will have to go around, wasting a surprising amount of time.

Ugh. The catapult. Screw that thing. That's the third most difficult part of the game to run. But, we got it this time. Then, I make a mistake, taking too long to hit the button.

In the last section, we found a glitch where you can walk up walls with airballs if you can squeeze against another object. This saved a LOT of time. Right after this, though, Rick makes a mistake and completely FAILS to get in the tube quickly. However, neither of these two mistakes cost time ...

This is because they would not have affected how quickly MY ball could get across the planks at the end. The mistakes would have had to waste about 5 seconds or so (the time it takes for the planks to make a half rotation) in order to hurt us. Even if we had climbed the wall three seconds earlier, I still could not have gotten on the planks and made it across. Rick probably could have, but then we'd still have to wait on me because I am the trailing ball at this stage in the level. It sounds like BS, I'm sure, but PM me if you ever want a fuller explanation. Anyway, it's a good thing we had already practiced going across together in case this kind of thing happened.

Because this level was sooo frustrating and we were able to get the essential sections correct without losing time overall, we decided to move on.

---Level Four---

Richard 'Reech Reynolds' Crismore says:

And here we have the final co-op level. This first part took me a few tries to get the hang of pushing the box right after I'm flown up by the fan. Now the next part was probably the hardest thing I had to do all by myself in this game. I turn to metal, then push the ball onto the fan button all in one fell swoop. Adrian pushes the box down so I can push it onto the button and fly up.

Next I become an airball and push the last two buttons, the first button is inconsequential as you will see. This saved us about twelve seconds total, which is quite a bit of time. These next buttons inflate us so that we float in the air. The first button in the air we ignore because we have enough time to make it to the second one. Then we ignore the last button in the air which is why I didn't turn that first fan button off earlier.

I turn to normal and wait for Adrian because both buttons need to be pushed at around the same time. We make our way to a surprisingly difficult part where I push metal boxes attached to string out of the way as a metal ball so that Adrian can pass as an airball. Then I turn into a jump ball and Adrian floats to the other side so that I can cross by way of magnetism. I turn into an airball and float to the other side where a “fun” puzzle awaits.

I let a fan push my ball to the button on the opposite side, which is very annoying when you miss, which happens a lot. Adrian then turns to metal, pushes an annoying box onto a button, turns back into an airball and onto the next button. This allows me to move onto the middle ledge where I hope I don't get blown off while Adrian turns the closest fan to me off. I turn into a jumpy ball and basically do what Adrian just did so that he can pass the middle ledge. Then it's all a matter of not getting blown off as a jumpy ball and making it into the taxi.

Whew!!! Level three was harder, but level 4 was more involved.

Adrian 'InsipidMuckyWater' Feiertag says:

This level easily took the longest to complete. I think it took two to three months to record, though a lot of that was due to scheduling practice sessions. Anyway, after the first couple months, we finally recorded a good run ... BUT I figured out a shortcut from watching the replays, so we had to record it a second time (this only ended up saving about 4-6 seconds, so don't say we didn't put effort into optimization). So, another month of work sat in front of us.

Like with the third level, the overwhelming majority of failures occurred in the very first section of this level. This section probably caused the second most screw ups of any part of the run, in fact. Not to mention, Rick and I were playing opposite roles before switching our route, but after we decided to rerun the level, I stayed down below and pushed the box while Rick went up to guide the NPB. We really resisted having to make this switch, since it took us so long to get the hang of this already difficult section, but we needed my ball to be in the lead at a certain point in order for us to keep the REST of the level the same, so we decided to do it anyway and learn each others' roles for the beginning. Headaches followed.

The reason this part was so difficult was because the box that Rick pushes down to me and the NPB that Rick has to navigate to the button are both self-aware and want us to die. They almost NEVER cooperated with us. I probably have about ten DVD's worth of recorded failures from this section; five hours at least from Rick being defeated by the NPB, and five hours of me being defeated by the box. Typical symptoms of these demon-possessed objects: A) the box will not stay on the button; B) the box would land on the opposite side of the platform (this actually happened here, but I was able to emerge victorious); C) the box would land near a wall and would be irretrievable; D) the NPB would slide into a crevice between two walls and would be irretrievable; E) the ball would slide off the right side of the button's ramp; F) the ball would slide off the left side of the button's ramp (yes, these are definitely worth listing separately); G) the ball would push Rick off the ramp; and H) even when none of these things happened, sometimes the SECOND box up on the catwalk would either fall/bounce into an irretrievable location when I pushed it down to Rick or would FALL THROUGH THE FLOOR as it fell. This stupid glitch actually occurred on a couple of other levels, as well. In any case, all of this created quite the nasty little impasse greeting us immediately out of the fourth level loading screen. Egads.

In the next section, we see the shortcut that justified redoing the level. Notice that Rick skips hitting the first button up the rails after he becomes an airball, as Rick mentioned above. You see, Rick actually discovered that we could skip docking at two of the five inflation ports, but we somehow forgot to skip hitting the BUTTON for the second of these two skipped ports before we finished our previous run. Fortunately, by redoing all that work (skipping two of the ports and avoiding the button for the second skipped-port), we saved probably around 10-15 seconds. Also note that there is a strange glitch that often prevents the second ball (me, in the run) at the inflation ports from inflating for many moments, often to the point of ruining a run. We don't know what caused this, but I attempted to combat the glitch by rolling around on the port and slaughtering the A button. Here, we were lucky and saw almost NO delay whatsoever.

At the block pendulums, as I call them, there is actually a way for both players to pass over the blocks as airballs using the squeezing glitch from the third level, but this is nowehere near cost effective. The best method we found was just to rush through them as quickly as possible. Often the blocks would ... block me ... from catching up with Rick, as happens slightly in the run, but normally I was able to glitch over the blocks quickly enough to catch up. It may look messy, but this was actually one of the quicker performances out of our attempts at this stage.

The final section is more monotonous than anything. Getting to this point was always encouraging, because it was not horribly difficult, unlike the earlier areas. Anyway, the biggest problems here were 1) keeping Rick from flying the hell off the bridge as he attempted to ramp over the gap and reach the button as an airball; and 2) keeping the box on the button for the third fan. My crack team of 18 international scientists have determined with 99.8% certainty that said box is possessed by a litany of demonic entities. Rick and I cannot tell you the number of times we would get Rick past the first two fans only to find that the box had mysteriously removed itself from on top of the third button so that the third fan was running again. We believed this happened whenever I pushed the box onto the button with too much force, because that would set the box between two of the rail guards around the button which would somehow make the box tilt upwards and then slide back off the button. Frankly, I thought this was going to happen in the submitted run, because I pushed the box entirely too far onto the button for our standards. Luckily, the box decided to act like a normal box and remain where it was. End level.

By the way, like with Toejam and Earl, I ran the fourth level while watching internet videos. What was I watching when we finally recorded the fourth level? The music video to The Divinyls' "I Touch Myself." Yep. Figure that out. I'm not saying it will work for you during your next speedrun, but you never know!

Conclusion (by Adrian 'InsipidMuckyWater' Feiertag):

The third level is obviously the worst. While the couple mistakes don't actually cost time, they make us look stupid. I tried to explain to Rick that this is the kind of thing that will haunt him if he did not want to correct it (speaking from experience), but we were both a bit fed up with that level by that point to care about aesthetic flubs. Regardless, each of the levels seem about as quick as I think they can be, absent the discovery of some new and innovative shortcut. Though, let us not forget about Rick's glorious gaff at the end of the first level. Let's dwell on that for just a moment more, shall we? Oh, there he was. Five seconds until completion. Nothing but the finish line between him and infinity. And what does he do? He falls asleep at the wheel and bonks fantastically into the taxi wing as he enters it. What a last moment catastrophe to an otherwise great level run.

Haha, I kid. Rick has been one of my best friends since Kindergarten, and he is profoundly patient and willing to do something over, and over, and over again if need be. That kind of perseverence is not common for inexperienced runners.

Enjoy the run. It's a nice, relaxing kind of run to watch when you are stressed out at school or at work. I hope that a sequel to Switchball is in the works, because it's a great game. I've seen a few casual speedruns of the single player game, but I believe this is the first run of the two-player cooperative levels. In any event, this run was actually pretty fun to perform since I got to do it with my friend Rick. And that's how I'll always remember it.

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