The Swapper Review

The Swapper Review

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Atmosphere is the word which came to mind during the hours I spent playing The Swapper. I felt slightly worried and uncomfortable the whole way through, quite the feat from Facepalm Studios.

So what is The Swapper exactly? Think the first few hours of a Metroid title, where you’re usually weak and vulnerable, but imagine that was stretched across an entire game. You play a lone astronaut on a Space-station, you’re given very little context as to why you’re there and as to what has gone on before the events of the game.

The main mechanic of the game is the Clone aka “Swapper” system, early on you’re given a handheld machine which allows you create up to 4 clones of yourself. Once obtained you are quickly introduced to what this game is all about, that being puzzles, lots of puzzles. If you’re coming into this expecting a 2D sides scrolling shooter/brawler (like we need any more of those), look elsewhere.


This title is more in the vain of Limbo, the aim isn’t to kill/destroy/maim, but to progress and to unlock the secrets hidden throughout. In fact you won’t find any combat in The Swapper, it really is all about progression.  The puzzles will test your mind and imagination in order to progress from one section to another. The end of most puzzles will give you access to an item which will help you unlock another section of the space station.

You will quickly begin to understand that your clones are horribly expendable, many will need to be sacrificed to conquer some of the challenges thrown your way. Clones can also be cancelled by making physical contact with them. Early on you’re also are given the tech to switch your conciousness between clones, if the body with your conciousness dies, it’s game over man. You will see the game over screen quite a lot, mostly due to trial and error. Even so, the well thought out and precise controls rarely lead to me having felt cheated at seeing this screen often. However with some puzzles needing horribly precise reactions to progress, feelings of frustration sometimes did occur.


At first you will feel nothing for these clones, but the games narrative will slowly begin to question the morality of sacrificing life in such a simple throw away manner. That combined with the game-play elements make for something incredibly unique and lead to some horribly mind-bending puzzles. Beating some of the tougher puzzles gives a great sense of achievement (even more-so as there aren’t any hints to help you) , especially after spending a while trying to figure them out.

All of this overall moodiness is heightened due to the look of the game. A claymation art style has been used, which gives the game an eerie charm, it’s like playing a dark episode of Wallace & Gromit, but in space and stuff. You can really see and feel the spacemans fragility and this tends to have you playing it safe with some puzzles and hazards, even though a lot of these need clones to be sacrificed in the end. Of course with visuals as niche as this, it will certainly put off some, which is a damn shame.


I came into The Swapper completely blind and was blown away by it. It’s something different and cerebral, which is rare to find in games these days. And the bold decision to have no combat with just puzzle elements is just as rare. This is a prime example of how indie games are blessing us with interesting and genuinely exciting games again, keep them coming please.



Release date:  Via PSN – 5th August (US) and 6th August (EU)

Version TestedPlayStation 4 (Cross buy on PS4, Vita and PS3)


By Myke

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