Humble Indie Bundle 11 ReviewGuest_Jim_* - February 24, 2014
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It can be interesting to see what mechanic a developer creates to build a puzzle game around. In The Swapper it is a device that allows you to create clones of yourself and swap control of your (current) body with one of the clones. The clones will also mirror every action you make, making them more than just boxes.
This mechanic is definitely well designed and implemented, and so are most of the puzzles around it. Some of the puzzles do seem to have less tolerance built into them than I would prefer, but not many. Also the game does not do the best job of leading you through the applications of the mechanic, but you can still figure them out. For example, you may not think immediately that you can create a clone in the air and swap to it in order to ascend a room. You eventually realize you can do this when you have to swap with a falling clone to complete a puzzle, and then ascend in order to escape a pit.
Having not completed the game, I can only speculate on the story, but it appears to focus on what intelligence is. Large rocks can be found throughout the space station the game is set on, and passing in front of them reveals a message, apparently from them. Some of the crew logs also reveal that the rocks appear to have a kind of intelligence, but they do not understand it since rocks are not often associated with intelligence. Also there is the fact that you are generating bodies, swapping your intelligence between them, and eventually destroying the bodies other than the one you inhabit. What is intelligence and life then if you can so easily shift it from one body to another?
The graphics are somewhat eerie, I find. That is partly because of the darkness used to prime for claustrophobia, but also because some elements are very detailed and realistic looking. Your character does not look as real though, as it moves like a Claymation puppet.
The soundtrack is completely atmospheric, which only adds to the eeriness I just mentioned. It works very well for the game, but I doubt I will listen to it separately.
Should you purchase the bundle for The Swapper? Only if you enjoy puzzle games. For those of you who do, I do believe you will enjoy this game. The mechanic is interesting, the puzzles are largely well constructed, and the story that accompanies it is at least intriguing. For everyone else, I could see the cloning and swapping mechanic being a bit overwhelming as you have to consider how each clone behaves. If that is not something you are interested in, you may have a hard time enjoying the game.