It’s not very often that you come across a puzzle game that is as intuitive, beautiful and original as The Swapper. Many puzzles games these days seem to use the same ideas over and over again, but this new space puzzler from Curve Studios brings something new to the genre.
The Swapper mixes classic 2D side scrolling Metroidvania exploration, with clever puzzle game play including a cloning element. You are a loan astronaut exploring an abandoned space station and the only way you can explore your new surroundings is by solving the puzzles to unlcok new areas. This sounds simple enough, but when you throw in the ability to clone yourself up to four times that’s when the games comes into its own.
The cloning device can clone the player up to four times and brings a new element of exploration. For example, if you find yourself needing to activate a switch from a high ledge you can point your cloning device just above the ledge, and clone yourself onto the ledge in order to active it. To add an extra challenge, your clone replicates every action you do. So when you jump your clone also jumps and when you run forward the clone also runs forward and so on. As you are able to replicate yourself up to four times, puzzles can be quite tricky as you have to keep an eye on what each one of your clones is doing. You may find yourself starting puzzles over again as one false move could end up killing one of your clones and destroying your progress.
The cloning device can also be used to bridge gaps. This is a technique you will have to master relatively early on in the game as this will help you to navigate the space station. Say you need collect a power orb from the opposite side of the room, but there is a huge drop in front of you. You are able to clone yourself part way over the gap, and then continue to clone yourself again and again until you reach the other side. This may sound like you need lightening speed and reaction in order to achieve this, but luckily the cloning device slows down time so that you able to place your next clone with precision. This is just another trick that adds another level of challenge to the puzzles of this game.
The Swapper gives off an ambience of isolation, and to me it felt like Dead Space without the survival horror element. Graphically it looks great as all of the visuals have been made by photos taken by the developer. It was quite fun to identify what was photographed to make certain textures of the space station as every now and then you could see the texture of a tin can or some crumpled newspaper.
The Swapper is a great puzzle game for PS3, PS4 and Vita. Though this game is already out on Steam, this play through has proved that the game has translated well on to both Sony platforms. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this game when it hits the PSN store next month.
The Swapper is coming out for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on the 24th of June 2014. The title will also be Cross-Buy for all three platforms.