The Swapper is a puzzle-platforming game that was originally released for Windows in 2013 that made it ways to Mac, Linux, PS3, PS4, Vita, and Wii U the following year. It was developed by Facepalm Studios, and they obviously love Metroidvania style games because it’s clear that they love the genre.
Lost In Space
As the game opens, our hero finds him (or her) self stranded on an abandoned space station. Of course, the point is to escape, but not before some Event Horizon styled shenanigans involving some odd space rocks that speak to you telepathically, and a crazy person running amok on the ship. I would say it makes sense when you stop to read the fluff documents (and you really should, they’re awesome), but those only serve to add more to the wonder of what’s going on. It’s great!
Solving puzzles isn’t quite as easy as putting one block into a slot, shifting another, and then passing through. No, you’ll have to use your cloning gun to duplicate yourself if you want to make it out. To get out, you’re tasked with puzzles that will require you to think about the timing, placement, and mechanics involved.
You get the cloning gun very early on, and it does take some getting used to if you’re going to succeed or find any secrets.
One thing I didn’t quite catch at first was that when you’re placing a clone, as pictured above, time slows down dramatically, which will allow you to swap to the clone you’re creating. This can lead to you literally climbing through thin air by clone-hopping. You’d better get used to it, too, because you’ll be using it. A lot.
There are quite a few puzzles the revolve around you having to flip certain switches to allow you to create and swap clones. They’ll involve red, blue, and purple lighting, each of which has a certain negative effect associated with it to stop you from doing one or both of your clone magic abilities. When you complete a puzzle, you’re rewarded with an orb that you’ll use to power up the next door or panel needed to proceed.
The controls are very simple: W, A, S, D, to move and jump. Mouse 1 to swap between clones, and Mouse 2 to place a clone. Yep, that’s it, and they work flawlessly.
So, the puzzles are solid, the controls are excellent, and the story is light but interesting.
The Universe At Large
While The Swapper is entertaining your brain cells with awesome puzzles, it’ll also be entertaining your eyes with very impressive visuals. No, I’m not going to say “…for a 2D side scroller.” I know plenty of 3D games that wish they looked this good and had this kind of atmosphere.
The game is dark and creepy when it wants to be, and bright and vibrant when it feels the urge. Both ends of the spectrum, and everything in between, are presented with love, attention to detail, and a masterful understanding of the concepts.
I’m guessing the developers are familiar with colors and how they can effect people’s mood and feeling as you can sometimes come across rooms splashed entirely in one color.
I’m guessing my stance on the visual state of the game are clear. It’s fucking gorgeous and you need to see it in action.
While I was on my journey through the space station, I found myself very relaxed for being in such a dangerous situation. The reasoning is due to the sound track. Holy shit. The music here is absolutely wonderful. Its somber, mellow tones contrast to the insanity of the ship’s current state very, very well. Maybe it’s the space rocks singing soulful melodies so that they might assimilate you in their hive? Who knows, you’ll just have to let the sounds take you away.
The sound FX themselves are pretty good, too. I mean, they’re sound effects and they fit the game perfectly. The only one that truly stands out is the sound your character makes if you fall to far and crumples. It sounds like what you’d expect an average weight person to sound like when hitting the floor from 2 or 3 stories. A sickening crunch.
There you go, the sound is on par with the visuals, and absolutely awesome.
Escape Pod, Go!
Metroidvania style world, fantastic puzzles, clone creating and swapping, and a soundtrack that makes just sitting still in the game a good time. The Swapper is awesome and I wish I’d played it sooner. At $14.99USD on Steam, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not getting it right now. Go! Get this one!
That’s all for now.
You folks have fun, take care, and I’ll see you next time.