The Swapper

And now for an impulse indie purchase: The Swapper.  I knew nothing of this game when I bought it.  That is why Steam exists – to make us drop a couple of coffees worth of money on random games.  I saw someone recommend it as “An atmospheric Sci-Fi Puzzle game with claymation graphics” and I was like “Sold!”

It’s a really good game and I absolutely recommend it.  The premise is that you are exploring a space station that seems to have come under some duress.  The puzzle part of the game comes when you discover a device that lets you clone yourself, and choose to swap to the new clone body or not (hence: The Swapper).  All the clones follow the same keyboard commands, so you can be “controlling” up to 5 of yourself at once, strategically placing them to walk where you want them to walk in order to depress switches, or get you to a new platform or whatever.

The atmosphere is excellent.  It’s got that perfect mix of creepy abandoned space station, claustrophobia, and a sense of wonder and reveal to keep it from being too oppressive.  The graphics are pretty neat too and give it a little something extra that deserves a mention.  Some love was definitely poured into the design of the game.

You uncover bits of the story by accessing computer terminals and listening to creepy recordings (keep subtitles on – some of them are pretty hard to hear).  As a bonus, you wander past alien artifacts which were brought on board, and start to learn a bit about those as well. I haven’t gotten very far in the story and I’m quite interested in what will be revealed.

Sadly, I’m not sure how much of it I will be able to reveal.  See, I kinda suck at twitchy platformy games, and I quickly ran into some twitchy puzzles involving swapping to bodies at just the right moment as they fall through space.  You can prevent yourself from dying by creating a clone close to the ground and swapping to it before you splat, or even climb high shafts by continually creating clones and swapping to them, leaving your old body to plummet to the ground as you gain a few more inches toward your goal (no morality problems here!  Nope!).  I was able to do these things, but… it was stressful.  And this is near the beginning of the game, so I can only IMAGINE the horrible and frustrating puzzles I’ll need to use it on later in the game.  I don’t think I’m going to be able to complete it :(.  Fortunately dying only sends you back to the last save point, which is usually a beam of light right inside the door of the room.  Unfortunately, I suuuccckkkk at this.

But you.  You do not suck at twitchy platformy games the way I do.  You should buy this game.  It’s got some unique ideas, the graphics are an experiment gone correctly, and there is a lot of love poured into it.  It deserves a look.