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The Swapper – Wii U

The Swapper – Wii U

TheSwapperPS4 (7)Platform: Wii U

Developer: Facepalm Games, Curve Studios

Publisher: Facepalm Games

Release Date: November 6, 2014

Genre: Puzzle, Platformer

Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10

Reviewed by Cloud3514

Deep in space, an astronaut has arrived at an abandoned research station. Where everyone on the station went is a mystery. What the strange and aparently psychic rocks are is a mystery. Players take control of this nameless astronaut to explore the research station to find out what happened to it.

The Swapper is a puzzle platformer that involves players exploring an abandoned space station usiTheSwapperPS4 (8)ng two devices, a clone gun that creates up to four clones of the player character and the titular Swapper, which aside from being the driving force of the game’s narrative is used to swap between clone bodies.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about The Swapper. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. Quite the contrary, in fact. It is similar to Portal in that regard.

In fact, my mind kept going back to Portal as I played this game. It’s a similar kind of puzzle game where the puzzles are about using the few tools at the player’s disposal in creative ways to get through the game. A shame I find that kind of puzzle game boring after a while.

Still, there are things I really like about The Swapper. The art style is amazing. It’s incredibly atmospheric. There’s not a lot of colors, but this works in the game’s favor. There are a lot of greys and blues, with very limited uses of other colors.

The game looks and feels very cold and lonely. Everything about the game adds to this. The music is very quiet and ambient and the sounds are echoy while inside the station and muffled in the few zero atmosphere areas. The astronaut is largely nondescript. He wears a grey spacesuit with no identifying or particularly distinguishing features. The game is just cold.

And that’s not a bad thing. It works very well for what Facepalm Games was going for. While the cold space atmosphere has been done before, it’s a very fitting for the game and it’s narrative.TheSwapperPS4 (6)

I particularly like the music. The cold, atmospheric tones are a perfect fit for the game and sets the mood. It’s off putting, but yet it also inspires a desire to continue to search through the abandoned station.

Gameplay, however, is kinda forgettable. It may be my personal taste talking, but I don’t see myself revisiting this game. While I can see fans of this kind of puzzle game digging the gameplay, it just didn’t do it for me.

It is a puzzle platformer where the player must explore the abandoned station by solving puzzles to unlock the way. While there is some platforming to do between the puzzles, most of the station isn’t much more than a hub for the puzzles.

The puzzles use two devices, a clone gun that the astronaut had from the start of the game, and the titular Swapper, which is obtained very early in the game. The clone gun can create up to four clones, that mimic the astronaut’s main body’s movements, while The Swapper changes which body is the main one.

One particularly creative thing I TheSwapperPS4 (5)liked about the game is that there are a few puzzles that limit the amount of clones the player can use, but it doesn’t do it through some artificial means. It simply traps the clones it doesn’t want the player to use by dropping them in pits or behind walls. It’s a clever and subtle way to restrict options.

There are a few mechanics that also restrict the player’s options that appear in most puzzles: different colored lights. While I don’t think the game has an in-universe explanation, red lights block the Swapper, blue lights block the clone gun (though it can be used past the light, just not IN the light) and purple lights block both. The puzzles generally involve figuring out a positioning to place and swap between bodies around the colored lights.

There is only as much variety in the puzzles as there are creative ways to mix up the limited toolset. Gravity reversal, using the clone gun and Swapper to use bodies as makeshift stepping stones and movable boxes are all used in creative ways to add variety to the platforming and puzzles, but after a while, the puzzles start to feel overly similar.

It’s actually the same issue I have with Portal. The Swapper just feels repetitive. It’s nice looking and the audio and art directions are fantastic, but the puzzles start to blur together after a while. I’d recommend it to fans of these kinds of puzzle games, but others should just give it a pass.TheSwapperPS4 (4)

The Swapper is also available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

Written by Nerd Bacon

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One Comment

  1. This game looks pretty interesting! Glad to see some unique games hitting the Wii U!

     

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