As I walked up to the final chapter of The Swapper, I was confronted with questions that applied directly to the core of our existence, and had me thinking about subjects that few games, if any, have ever inspired me to ponder upon. It takes a special type of game to do that and that’s why I loved playing it so much.
You play as a nameless character in outer space who’s ship malfunctions causing him to land on an abandoned station in an unspecified area of space. At first the space station seems uninhabited, but soon you meet the last survivor of the space station who is keen on getting off it. Her strange personality and odd instructions helps provide mystery to the story, and adds to the already ominous tone that exists in the game from the moment it begins. The setting plays a huge part in the games narrative, as it spurs intrigue from the get go. When I first started the game, I already had questions about what happened to the station, or why it was there in the first place, and this curiosity never subsides because they do a great job of adding enough elements to the story to keep you guessing, but not too much to bog the game down. The minimalist soundtrack also accentuates the atmosphere of the game very well, fitting perfectly within it. Ultimately, what I was most impressed with was the story itself, especially near the end, and like I said before some very profound questions about life and our existence are asked that no other game I have played has even scratched the surface on.
The gamplay of The Swapper is very well executed, taking simple concepts and finding extreme depth within making for some incredibly hard puzzles that took me a while to figure out. It speaks to the creativity and effort that the developer put into this game and it’s level designs. The kicker of the gameplay is a device called, you guessed it, ‘the Swapper’, it’s a device that can manifest up to four clones that mimic your movements, and is called the Swapper because you can “swap” consciousness with any of the clones you create. What’s brilliant about this device is that it actually serves a purpose in the whole scope of the story, it isn’t there just so you can get from point A to point B, instead it is an integral part of the narrative and is the reason the developer was able to ask the thoughtful questions I mentioned earlier. The puzzles themselves consist of retrieving orbs to unlock new areas, and like any good platformer as you go on there are more components added to the gameplay that make it harder, but these elements all fit well within the confines of the game, and are never overly complicated, but when put together makes for some truly challenging puzzles.
After finishing The Swapper, I get another sense that many developers are beginning to understand how to use video games as a great story-telling device, because even though this game had some really rewarding puzzles, they aren’t what I took away from this experience. What I did take away was how The Swapper tells an ambitious, intriguing, thought-provoking story that I have been thinking about since I finished it about a week ago. That being said, I would recommend to almost anyone, with the only drawbacks being that the difficulty sometimes took away from my experience as well as it being a bit short, but if you don’t mind those two things I would definitely give The Swapper a shot, who knows it might even change your life.