The Swapper, developed by Facepalm games, is one of the greatest puzzle games you’ll play all year.
In a style similar to Portal, you have a gun (referred to as the “swapper”) that has only two option. You can create clones of yourself, or you can swap to and take control of another clone. The thing is, these clones all move in tandem with you. You go left, they go left. You jump, they jump. The only way to get rid of your clones is to get them against a wall and have them “stack”.
The Swapper gives you control over a mysterious astronaut. They don’t talk throughout the entire game. In fact, most of the story is given to you through memorial terminals highlighted on your map. Add in some garbled, fragmented thoughts of alien rocks, that’s all you have to go on.
That said, the story manages to be interesting despite the simple ways it’s told. It asks some heavy questions in regards to humankind’s expansion into the stars and human experimentation. Are these clones humans? Are they tools? Who are we to say? By the end, it may be up to you.
The puzzles of The Swapper are fun and rarely make you feel too frustrated. The few times I looked at a guide for a hint, I found myself embarrassed. The solution is always way easier than it seems. That’s the fun of it though. Figuring out these puzzles – especially the late game ones – makes you feel like a genius.
The aesthetic is something worth noting. Everything is made up of simple household items. Your ship for instance, is made out of a tin can. Couple this along with the game’s astounding lighting and you easily have one the most beautiful games in the past few years.
There’s little to say about The Swapper that’s isn’t praise. The game is about as long as it needs to be, clocking in at around four hours. For only $10, it’s easily an experience worth having.