The Swapper Reviews

  • MuscularTeaMuscularTea1,323,743
    05 Jun 2015
    16 6 0
    ** Originally posted at **

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    The easiest way to solve a puzzle to get someone else to help you with it sometimes, in this case just make multiple versions of yourself!

    The Swapper is an atmospheric puzzle platformer set in space is the first game developed by Facepalm Games and was supported by Indie Fund. The game was originally on steam and was later ported by Curve Studios to consoles. The Swapper also won and was nominated for many awards including Indie Showcase Winner for Develop Conference in 2011 and Special Recognition Award Winner for IndieCade in 2011.

    In The Swapper, you take control of the character aboard the space craft and begin to traverse the area. After a little while you’ll be shown that you have an experimental device that allows your character to clone oneself and swap positions (minds) with the clone. You’ll be given a limit to how many clones you are able to produce, that being 4. Every time you touch a clone or the die in some fashion that clone will be reset and allow you to reproduce a new clone of yourself.

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    Giant ominous machine, what could go wrong?

    All of this allows for very interesting puzzles that can really test you as not all of the answers for a puzzle may be clear. Each puzzle can have 3 different color lights that change the actions that you are able to complete within these areas that it shines. Blue lights restrict spawning a clone within the zone, red restricts your swapper to pass through the zone and purple restricts both of the functions. You’ll have to work around these obstacles in order to solve the puzzle, such as having a clone hold down a switch, moving a block to block the light from shining,or turning completely upside down to pass through a blocked area.

    When I think puzzle games, The Swapper tweaks the formula a nice bit that allows for a whole new experience and failing at a puzzle never once felt like a bad thing. There’s no penalty for failing aside from restarting a short puzzle from the beginning. This allows you to experiment on the puzzles till you get it right, just like they experimented with the swapper/clone device. The puzzles vary in difficulty but adding enough of a challenge each time that it just feels like regular progression.

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    Why teleport when you can swap!

    The story for The Swapper is a dark and interesting one, you learn about everything happening on the ship and it doesn’t feel just thrown onto the game as something for you to listen to as you progress through the puzzles. Every rock, monitor and even hidden monitors add to the story and atmosphere of the game. I started off the game not paying attention to the story much and threw it off as another puzzle game trying to add content, but it kept adding new information and intrigued me to the point that I read every tidbit of information that came up on the screen right up until the ending which left me sitting there thinking about the whole story and context of everything that surpassed in the game.

    As you progress in the game, you’ll encounter the only areas in the game that I felt like didn’t add anything worthwhile to the game and more so frustrated me a little. These areas were the in space levels where you had to use your swapper as a thruster and project yourself in the direction that you wanted to go. Not only did these areas just feel useless to me, the controls for the swapper itself are a little off sometimes so it wasn’t a pleasant time when those areas come up. Thankfully there are only about three of them within the entire game.

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    Even in space, you need to have time to garden.

    Overall for The Swapper, it’s a great puzzle game and a great short story to enjoy. Anyone who is on the fence for this game should definitely pick it up as it definitely stands out against the rest of the crowd. Even players who may not be into puzzle games should be able to find something within this game to enjoy. The atmosphere, story, music and puzzles all bring The Swapper to be a great game and experience for anyone to enjoy.


    - Intriguing Story
    - Interesting mechanics
    - Great Puzzles
    - Space Areas
    - Certain Controls
  • Danny Dubs 86Danny Dubs 862,039,091
    25 Feb 2016
    1 5 0
    Originally posted on my blog at

    In my last review, I complained about a puzzle game not going far enough with its mechanics. A puzzle game lives and dies on the satisfaction you get from solving a difficult puzzle, so if the game doesn't build up to some truly challenging stuff, it's going to be disappointing.

    The Swapper is definitely not disappointing.

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    The Xbox One version of the game is a port of the original PC release in 2013. While it does suffer a bit from the shift in control scheme, the beautiful world, interesting story, and challenging gameplay are incredibly strong. Here's what you can expect:

    The Basics
    The Swapper takes place on a derelict space station out in the boondocks of the galaxy. You control an astronaut who is just looking to survive, which is not too daunting a task, given the hand-held cloning machine at your disposal.

    And that forms the basis of the game's core mechanics. You can create up to four clones at a time, but each will match your movements, so you control them all simultaneously. These copies allow you to hold down multiple switches or reach distant objects with ease, though maneuvering them takes a bit of foresight and planning. What's more, those clones will persist either until you touch them or they die (in the normal ways - long falls is the most common), so placing one clone poorly can force you to restart if you can't kill it easily.

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    That system alone leads to some interesting possibilities, but the Swapper goes one step further - you can actually swap places with one of your clones as long as you have a direct line-of-sight. Now, you can also reach areas that area otherwise beyond your, well, reach.

    Together, these two mechanics open up a huge variety of possibilities, but to make some of the puzzles all the more puzzling, there are a couple more important mechanics. Some areas are bathed in a particular color of light - you can't spawn clones in blue light, and red regions will block your swapping beam. Later on, gravity enters the fray as well, allowing you to walk on ceilings and create clones that do the same.

    All together, these rather simple features lead to some truly challenging puzzles.

    Alongside all the puzzling, the story is told primarily through computer terminals you pass along the way. Each message is brief, but they do a great job of building up the mythology of this particular universe.

    The Good
    I'm sure you can already tell that I think the puzzles in this game are fantastic. It starts slow, with fairly obvious puzzles, but it quickly ramps into scenarios that require a lot more thought and setup. Some puzzles even cleverly restrict the number of clones you can use by forcing you to drop one or two on switches before you can enter the main area, which is cool. In general, the puzzles are interesting and the difficulty increases steadily but never reaches a point where it's overly frustrating. It's damn near perfect.

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    The puzzles are just really well done. I could keep rambling on about them, but let's leave it at that.

    And the story is fantastic, too. It's relatively light on narrative, focusing instead on a few little cutscenes and the terminal messages mentioned above. That's actually a big boon, as it doesn't beat any parts of the story to death the way that a lot of games do.

    But the plot itself is a fantastic sci-fi story. I won't go into any details, but I'll say that there were a couple points where I thought, "oh, man, that's awesome," and I've become cynical enough that I don't think that too often anymore.

    Even better, the graphics and sound do a fabulous job setting the stage. The whole game looks amazing, with this beautiful style almost reminiscent of stop-motion animation. It's really cool.

    While there's not a lot of music (derelict space station, remember?), it's hauntingly beautiful when it does pop up. The sound effects are also great, but they're not terribly memorable (are they ever these days?). And there are little bits of voice acting scattered around, which are also very good.

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    The Swapper is just a great package all-around.

    The Bad
    The worst thing about the game is something that's not really that big of a deal - the controls. Placement of clones can be a little awkward using a control stick instead of a mouse. It never felt game-breaking, and it was rarely even a minor annoyance, but it is certainly a flaw.

    The only other problem? It's a little short, clocking in at around 4.5 hours for me. Obviously, the length depends on how quickly you pick up the puzzles, so it could easily last 10+ hours, but I wouldn't count on it. Also, being completely reliant on puzzles, there's basically no replay value. It would be nice to have some optional puzzles that are really hard to give a little something to tackle after beating the game.

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    The Achievements
    All of the achievements in the Swapper involve finding hidden terminals. These terminals are generally very well hidden, but once you know where they are, it's not too hard to find them. As such, a guide (like the ones on this site) is really all you need to make the achievements in this game trivial.

    In fact, if you're not interested in the puzzle-based gameplay, you can probably rush through the game in a couple hours with a good guide for the whole thing. I'd suggest against using a guide because it's such a great experience, but the power is yours.

    To sum up: The Swapper is a fantastic game, and it's definitely worth checking out. I highly recommend it.

    My Rating: 9/10 - awesome.

    (For more info on my rating system, including overall stats, see