14 April 2014

The Swapper (2013)

Game score: 88%
Platform: Steam, PC

The Swapper is a rather simple puzzle platformer with an interesting gameplay: you are equipped with a unique weapon which allows you to create clones of yourself and swap with them. Confusing? I just may lack words to actually describe it correctly, but it really is a simple concept and will take you no more than 2 minutes to get used to what you need to do.

There's no one to kill in this game, there are no quick movements (mostly) so that kind of skill is far from needed. What you really need is a brain and some patience in order to complete this game. Mind you, it's not really a brain-killer as most puzzles are really easy to complete. Sometimes all you need is a two minute break to rest a bit and it will all come to you.

Anyway, what's it about? You are an astronaut on a Space Station Theseus and there's been an accident. You are trying to escape as well as find out what actually happened there. In order to progress you need to open certain doors and each door requires you to own a certain number of orbs. Orbs can be collected by solving puzzles. To solve puzzles you need to create clones of yourself (and swap places with your own clones, as I said before). These clones will do exactly the same movements and actions as yourself and you will need to use them to open doors, step on certain spots etc.

As I said, the game is incredibly simple in its mechanics, but is challenging enough to keep you playing it for 5 or 6 hours until the very end. I really enjoyed the time spent on this and I managed to get stuck only once! And it was only because I didn't notice one floor tile (it was upside down and I guess I was just too tired). The real challenges come up at later stages as you get into rooms where you know exactly what you need to do - but you need to figure HOW to do it.

One real good feature are teleporters that will allow you to move quickly if you ever need to go back to some room (if you missed something or took a left turn and now you want to go right). I just love it when developers think about us players and our need to cut down the lost time :)

There are 10 achievements in the game as well and they are real pain in the ass. Not because they are too hard to get or are luck based... No, it's because they require you to find 10 hidden rooms and to do that you would need to randomly clone and swap yourself into hidden walls and corridors. Most of the time such corridors are too well hidden and you'd do better if you ignore that part of the game completely. Unless you read a guide or watch YouTube videos to find out their locations.

Overall, The Swapper is a beautiful and entertaining indie game that will leave you asking for more. As for the actual story that develops as you progress - I leave that to you. It's a bit confusing... and unimportant, to be honest. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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