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The Swapper Hands-On Preview

by on03/25/2013
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Swapper was by far the best indie game we played at PAX East. This game has been in development for the past four years by a development team consisting of two independent contractors and two full-time developers. They are called Facepalm Games and they hail from Finland, and they brought a game that lets you navigate through puzzles while creating clones to help you reach your goals.

During the playthrough we used a weapon that allowed you to create clones. We also had the ability to “swap” bodies with the clones…shocker. These clones would perform every action you would from whatever location you spawned them.

You would move through puzzles that would require you to do some pretty creative actions, such as:

  • Create four clones, drop them on four different switches to move four pillars in your way, and placing yourself perfectly so they stayed on the switches.
  • Placing a clone on a switch then waiting for a slow-moving pillar to move out of the opposite doorway as you have to keep yourself afloat by spawning new clones above you and then taking them over, so you wouldn’t fall to your death.
  • Falling from a super high height and right before reaching the ground spawning a clone on the ground and taking him over before splattering on the ground.

We watched countless people get frustrated, confused, and embarrassed that they couldn’t figure out puzzles. We watched for a bit and are obviously superior gamers so we managed to beat the demo with only minimum confusion.

SwapperScreen

My favorite part of the game though had to be the art style. As we talked to them they told us the style of the game just happened on accident. The game used real photographs of items/areas that they then animated over.

It was almost as if you were lost in an ambient fog with very realistic backgrounds that almost popped out like they were 3D. It was easily my favorite art style for any arcade game old and new, including amazing ones like Limbo.

These guys have dedicated a lot of time and effort into this game and after playing it for just a short time I feel like they have a sure-hit on their hands. I got the same vibe that Fez and Super Meatboy had when I played this title.

They will be releasing on PC and don’t have any plans for consoles yet, but if I were Sony or Microsoft, this is a studio I would up and buy. If this is what they could do with four people in four years, they seem to have a lot of untapped potential.