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The Swapper Review

By Omega Deez



The Swapper is an atmospheric puzzle platformer set in space. Players wield a device that is able to clone the user and transfer, or swap, control between them. You then use these clones to solve the puzzles in the game.

Developer: Facepalm Games
Publisher: Curve Digital
Genre: Puzzle/Platformer
Format: Xbox One
Release Date: June 5th 2015
Copy provided by publisher
More than just a puzzle game

The Swapper is the first game I've played that made me think "experience" needs to be a genre for video games. Yes it has puzzles and they are core to the gameplay but it is so much more than a puzzle game. It is, as I said, an experience.

The story, which I will try not to spoil, is one of the most interesting stories I've seen in a long time. And for a "puzzle" game, it has some incredibly complex ideas but very solid writing makes it easy to follow. The voice acting is also very well done. The gist of the story, told through visuals, interactions with a mysterious woman and terminals that can be read along the way, is you land on a derelict space station after using an escape pod to escape some disaster on a space ship and you need to find out what happened. A main theme of the story is the idea of cloning a person and transferring their consciousness into said clone.


This theme also plays a major role in the gameplay and ties into the games mechanic in a way that blows my mind. I've never seen part of a games story so relevant to the games mechanic. This idea of cloning and the transferring of consciousness is how you do the platforming and also how you solve the puzzles of the game.

The platforming is fairly simple. You use the experimental gun to clone yourself and swap control to reach higher ground. You also use the gun to avoid falling to your death from high places by cloning and swapping before you hit the ground to reach lower areas. The body that you just transferred out of does hit the ground with a crunch and dies though and raises the question of whether or not I just killed someone or did I commit suicide. That simple yet thought provoking action is one of the things that make this game awesome. Not to mention it plays into the story.


The puzzles on the other hand, aren't so simple. In the beginning some of the puzzles can be quite hard to solve but once you figure out what you can and can't do through experimentation, the puzzles become a little bit easier, but not by much. As you progress through the game, the puzzles begin to add new obstacles to overcome to solve them. Sometimes it's a colored light that prevents you from performing a certain action, e.g. a red light that disables the cloning function of the gun or pressure plates that you have to stand clones on. These plates can be tricky, especially in later puzzles, because your clones move as you do. It will take some trial and error to figure out the right spots to drop the clones from so they stay on the plates allowing you to grab the orb. These orbs are the reasons you need to solve the puzzles. They are used to open new pathways to progress through the game.

The clever puzzles of The Swapper are very well thought out, pose a nice but not frustratingly hard challenge and bring a nice sense of satisfaction once you solve one of them.


The art style of the game is also impressive. All of the art in the game was literally hand crafted using clay models and other everyday materials making this one of the most visually unique games you can find and only enhances an already engrossing game. You can tell a lot of love went into this game just by looking at it.

Another thing worth mentioning is the soundtrack. The music production in The Swapper is top notch and just like the art style, enhances the atmosphere of the game. Every aspect of this game fits together very well.


Conclusion

The Swapper is an immersive experience. From the graphics to the story, from the puzzles to the ambient soundtrack, every part of this game kept me engaged until the very end. The one and only problem I have with this game is the length. Depending on how fast you solve the puzzles, it only takes 4 - 5 hours to complete but it's definitely worth your time and money.

Summary:
+ Gameplay
+ Story
+ Atmosphere
+ Sound Design
+ Puzzles
+ Voice Acting
- Short campaign

Score: 9.5/10 "Amazing"

What I played: 2 complete playthroughs solving every puzzle, reading every terminal and unlocking all achievements
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