Genre | Adventure, Platformer, Puzzle
Developer | Facepalm Games
Platforms | PC
The Swapper is a sidescrolling puzzle platformer game where the player takes control of a character in a space suit equipped with the eponymous Swapper, a device that allows the character to clone themselves multiple times. The player uses this device to solve puzzles and progress though a space station in order to beat the game.
In The Swapper the player solves puzzles by using the Swapper device, moving around, and making use of the environment. The player can create up to four clones and move from clone to clone by firing the Swapper. Every clone moves in the same direction the player is moving, and jumps when the player jumps. Colored lights block the operation of the Swapper in various areas and some switches must be held down to open doors or turn off lights. Each puzzle is contained to a single room. The player can explore the space station and solve puzzles in any order as they appear, although some areas are locked until the player solves a certain number of puzzles.
The story in The Swapper takes place on a space station that is largely devoid of life. The story addresses issues of personal identity, the soul, mortality, and the subjective experience of life given one’s embodiment in various physical forms. The player comes across logs and also hears and reads dialog to learn about what took place on the space station. The space station has various locations, like a greenhouse and living quarters. There are ten secret rooms that contain secret logs for the player to locate.
The graphics in The Swapper are made out of clay models and various other materials. These models are animated and lit by the game dynamically, which allows the player’s head lamp and other lights to illuminate materials and cast shadows. The sound in The Swapper is sparse and mostly features the sound of the Swapper device and the noises clones make as they are crushed to death or walk and jump. There is also spoken dialog. The music in The Swapper is ethereal and also sometimes features a piano.
When the player has used the Swapper to make four clones and needs to make a fifth, the player must kill one of the clones by walking it off a high ledge or crushing it under a door. The player must carefully position clones and swap between the right ones so as to be able to solve the puzzle without dying. New mechanics are added as the game progresses in the form of additional environmental features that change how the player interacts with the world and solves puzzles.