The Swapper is an eerie sci-fi puzzle platformer from indie developer Facepalm Games. The game is currently out on steam, and despite a short delay, The Swapper will be making its way to the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita on August the 6th – but what is it about?
The Swapper’s tagline is “What if someone knew your mind better than you did?” which is certainly ambiguous to say the least. This game becomes even more cryptic when the main character starts on an abandoned space station and must find a means to escape. The dark and dimly lit levels give a sense of mystery, horror and isolation but the big question remains – where has everyone gone?
Earth has exhausted its resources and several space stations are dotted around the solar system in the hope of finding and extracting new materials to in turn help the planet. The crew of one space station, the Theseus, come across what appears to be a uninhabited planet, which has an abundant amount of natural mineral deposits, called Chori V. Along with other resources the crew come across large rocks of an unknown origin. Once they study them, the crew believe that the rocks themselves are a life form and possess some sort of intelligence. The rocks become known as ‘The Watchers.’
Without spoiling too much, the game takes a turn that, thematically, has a lot in common with 2001 Space Odyssey and Alien. But not in a direct way, more in terms of human curiosity and the evil nature that lurks within.
But enough of what the game is about – what is it you do within the game? After all, it is a puzzle platformer.
To escape the space station, players must acquire hidden orbs to power sealed doors, in order to progress. Early on in the game, you’ll discover a cloning device, which clones yourself. This is the essential tool for all puzzles – but how did it get there? The device allows players to clone themselves up to 4 times and every action the player makes, the clone mimics. So walking to the right will mean every clone will walk to the right. Fortunately you can strategically place each of these clones, as the device has a beam of light, allowing you to place them on otherwise unreachable platforms. Provided the clone is within your line of sight you can swap between each clone and assume control of that clone. This allows you to solve a wide array of puzzles, such as activating switches, pushing blocks or opening doors that simply wouldn’t be possible if there was just one of you.
One of the most striking and impressive things about The Swapper is its art style. Facepalm Games have decided to use (and excuse me if I’m wrong on this) an art style never used in games before. Facepalm opted for Claymation. If you remember the old 70’s-80’s tv shows such as Trapdoor, where Burke was in charge of keeping various ghouls and monsters from escaping from the trapdoor covered pit (often unsuccessfully) then you have an idea of what Claymation is. This unusual animation adds to the eerie feel prominent throughout The Swapper and makes the game almost palpable.
Twinstick Gaming are certainly looking forward to getting hands on with ‘The Swapper’ so stay tuned for a full review and some live broadcasting on our Twitch channel come August.