The Swapper is a game of puzzles and exploration with an element of science fiction adventure rarely seen in video game form. The Swapper is unique because of the way in which the game's setting and history compliment the gameplay. The Swapper is a small masterpiece and a point of reference for future, similar games.
A mix of puzzles and science fiction
The Swapper is based on a set of puzzles. The main character's gun allows him to clone himself four times and change into one of his clones at any time. Clones are "mirrors" of the main character, who copy his movements exactly. The clones can die without affecting the life of the main character and is sometimes necessary to progress in the game.
It's this interaction with clones in The Swapper that may feel a bit unnatural: in many puzzles, you are forced to kill your clones to overcome sections of play. In others, you have to change into one of your clones to finish killing your 'former self' in order to advance. It may feel strange, but it's the only way to progress in the game.
The way in which you progress through levels, however, is very classic. To advance through closed sections, you must collect green orbs, which are hidden in seemingly impossible to reach locations. To get to these orbs, you have to press buttons and levers, open doors, or even clone yourself, using the clones to carry out simultaneous tasks and change from one clone to another. The foundations of playing The Swapper is to repeat this pattern dozens of times.
The real magic of The Swapper is how these puzzles are connected to create a logical progression. Again, the story and setting are key to keeping you glued to your monitor for the duration of the 8-hour long adventure.
Easy to learn and play
The controls for The Swapper are very much like those in Trine and other similar games. You can move your main character in The Swapper using the mouse and keyboard. With a point and click of the mouse, you create clones; with another click, you can move your 'essence' to the clone you're aiming at.
There are times when you'll have to go outside the space station to a weightless environment. When outside the space station, you can fire your gun and use the recoil to move in opposite directions.
The Swapper isn't a difficult game to learn and the controls are responsive. The jumps might seem a bit inaccurate at first, but they become accurate once you try it a few times.
Graphics created from clay models
All the graphics of the game were created as real models made from clay and then scanned into 3D. It seems like a lengthy undertaking, but it definitely results in very unique and natural-looking graphics which are full of personality and detail.
It's the combination of these graphics with the variety of special effects and the great lighting which emphasize The Swapper's unique atmosphere.
Visually, the game is fantastic, but the audio is on another level. The work done here is beyond belief and probably the best sound you'll hear on a game today. And it's not only the music, but the sound effects, like echoes and haunting voices, that make The Swapper really stand out.
The best way to play The Swapper? Alone, in a dark room, with headphones. Fully experiencing The Swapper both visually and audibly is what the game deserves!
Some have called The Swapper the first true science fiction game. That may be a bit of a stretch, but there's no denying that the science fiction element in The Swapper is amazing. If we look further beyond the storyline and atmosphere, the puzzles are great and have a very steep learning curve. The first puzzles are easy, even elementary, but as you progress, the solutions become complicated to the point of torture. Graphics and sounds are of the highest quality and control is very good. There isn't much more to say about The Swapper other than play it!