grumbel's The Swapper (PC) review

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  • 4 out of 4 Giant Bomb users found it helpful.
  • grumbel has written a total of 93 reviews. The last one was for The Swapper

Rather mediocre under the polished exterior

The game starts out quite promising. The graphic look really nice, featuring a 2D side scroller look that is enriched with tons of zoom, paralax and light effects that make the graphics pop-out without the need to use fully fleded 3D models. Making this easily one of the best looking 2D games around. The sound effects and music establish a creepy and mysterious athomsphere. It feels and looks a bit like a 2D Dead Space, but without the jump scares or zombies.

The core of the gameplay is the swapper device, it lets you clone yourself up to four times and allows you to swap control over to your clones. The clones all follow the same movements as your player character, aside from actions of the swapper gun. Red and blue lighting will inhibit certain the abilities of the device. Puzzles are made up of separate rooms that require you to get to a certain spot, using your clones to stand on switches or boxes around to free the path for you.

The big problem with the game is that the puzzles never really start to become fun. The solutions are either obvious or just based on trial and error, it never really feels like you figured something out. You just put your clones into the few spots where they fit and the rest more or less works itself out automatically. Here and there the game might require you to shoot through a small opening that you might only see after running around the puzzle room a few times, but that's about it. You never gain any new abilities to your gun and having so many puzzles based on plain switches just feels rather unimaginative. The game never bothered to incooperate the puzzles into it's story progression, all the puzzles are done in separate rooms and never intertwine with the hub world. The only interaction between the puzzles and the story is that solving puzzle rooms gives you keys to unlock more story bits.

The world design itself is also a bit misleading, when you start out the game and look at the map the game looks like at least a mild form of Metroidvania, giving room to for optional puzzles, hidden areas and all that stuff. But the game does none of that. To reach the end you have to do all the puzzles and there is no point in backtracking, as you never gain any new ablities or insight. And if that wasn't clear enough, the game doesn't even let you reenter the world after the ending. It just feels like a missed oportunity to build a bigger and better game.

As for the story itself, like a lot of stories it starts out all mysterious and somewhat interesting, but it never manages to go anywhere. There is a lot of waffling around souls, consciousness and stuff, but little else. The story doesn't even try to address why there are all those puzzle rooms and why you need to collect those orbs to unlock doors. I don't think the reason why the different colors of light block different abilities was ever explained either. The story even conflicts with the actual abilities of the swapper device in the gameplay, as while in the gameplay you use the device to create clones and take control of them, in the story the device is used to beam your conciousness into other people. There is never a reason given why all the clones follow the same movments as your main character or even why there are clones to begin with. It feels like the story and gameplay just follow completely different sets of only vaguely related rules.

The story also just suffers from being badly implemented, it's hard to tell who is actually speaking when you hear voice acting and it's hard to understand what they want. So there is very little sense of goal or progression over the course of the story, as you have little idea what is going on.

Overall it's not an aweful game, one can have some fun with it, but the polished exterior aside there really isn't much to it. The story never goes anywhere or even starts to make sense, it stays right in the "pointless artsy indie filler material" category, and the puzzles are just not all that interesting. So both as a puzzle game as well as a story driven sci-fi adventure it fails. It has a few really good bits and pieces, but it's missing a lot inbetween to turn it all into a satisfying gaming experience. Reaching the end just left me with the question "That's it?".

Other reviews for The Swapper (PC)

    The Swapper is brilliant, beautiful, and one of the best games of the year. 0

    There are a lot of indie games. There are a lot of puzzle games. There are a lot of indie puzzle games. Managing to stand out from the pack and be original is a challenge a lot of games have but when your genre is filled with games like Portal, Braid, Limbo, and recently Antichamber, it can be almost impossible.To say that The Swapper stands out from the pack would be an understatement. The Swapper not only stands out from the pack but it stands head and shoulders among the best puzzle platforme...

    3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

    A well-crafted puzzle experience from top to bottom 0

    The Swapper is an indie puzzle game with light platforming elements and a unique visual artstyle. Don’t roll your eyes; I know you want to. While I have to admit that this particular kind of game has become a bit tired over the last few years, I still think The Swapper is a fantastic product, one worth your time if you're willing to give it a look.As a puzzle game, The Swapper is mostly about its puzzles. There is no combat to speak of and death is a rare thing (with a very forgiving checkpoint ...

    2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

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