Fun Fridayz #12 – Free to Flee for a Few Mes
Swip Swap, You Don’t Stop
The short of it: The beautiful environments and bone-chilling environments make The Swapper a fascinating watch, but the solid puzzling mechanics make it equally as fun to play.
The Swapper is one of the staples of the initial indie peak. Along with Thomas Was Alone and Octodad, these games conquered the early proving grounds of independent development.
Note: I’m mostly going by my own timeline here. This isn’t exactly chronologically or empirically correct. I mean, these were the games that were the initial movers of things like Greenlight and Humble Bundle. They were the first games Microsoft and Sony (and probably Nintendo, but who even knows what/if they think) thought of as necessary additions to their marketplace to prove they supported indie devs.
The Swapper is the story of a lone survivor on a spaceship that may be populated by mysterious alien life forms with a taste for humans– a tale as old as time. Left with a tool that allows her to clone herself up to four times. She can swap possession from clone to clone to progress through locked areas of the deserted ship.
Here are cheap comparisons. It’s Metroidvania without the Metroid, without any clear enemies to worry about. It’s SOMA before SOMA.
But it’s a good game on its own merit. The literally-built-from-clay environments and models look amazing, the cloning mechanic manages to hold both gameplay and story value without compromising on either. Of course, it’s easy to be cynical about the game’s message of, “Here’s a video game mechanic, think about it.” But even taking the game at surface level, with none of the meta-gameplay concerns, it still manages to tell a good story in a known (humans have run out of resources, exploring far away worlds to find new ones) realm.