Curve Studios are a small indie games company that are making a reputation for themselves by releasing quality games. They are the team that brought us the cute Stealth, Inc. Now they are back and their latest offering is The Swapper; an atmospheric platform puzzler that is based in outer space. So let us not waste any more time, below we will find out if the game is great or should be dumped in an black hole.
Developer: Curve Studios
Publisher: Curve Studios
Genre: Platform, Puzzle
Release Date: 5 August 2014
Thanks to the publisher for the review code.
The Swapper is an interesting game that when first loaded looks like a basic game. Well technically you won’t be wrong. You find yourself controlling an astronaut on a planet surface that is very remnant of the graphics you would have seen back in the 8 and 16-bit days. You start playing and as you get further and start to solve a puzzle or two, you find yourself getting hooked and all of a sudden you can’t put it down. This is one of the most addictive games that I have found myself playing for quite a while. The learning curve is just right and the game is a very enjoyable experience that proves you don’t need to spend out a fortune on an AAA title for fun gaming.
You begin alone on a planet that you must explore and solve puzzles. This doesn’t last for long though as you soon discover early on that you can make friends, literally. You are presented with the cloner; a device that does exactly what it sounds like and makes duplicates of you. And you also find the swapper, which allows you to transfer your soul from body to body. These items make the game interesting as they each have their own limitations; with the cloner you need a line of sight which unfortunately means that you can’t duplicate yourself through walls. The cloner turns out to be invaluable as it gives you access to unreachable areas.
You might be thinking that with the above hardware this might sound like an easy game, think again. Throughout the levels there are various coloured lights which act like inhibitors for certain actions. If you enter a section that is lit with blue lights, then this stops the creation of clones. (But any clones already created can still walk through the zones) If you see a red light area this prevents you from being to transfer your soul to someone else. And then you have the purple illuminated parts; this is the worse as it prevents both from abilities from working. Beside the lights there are a few other obstacles that make the games puzzles tricky to solve. Things like reversing gravity make using clones more fun, but they are never impossible to solve and when you do, you get a great sense of achievement. Curve Studios need to be complimented on the perfect balance.
Another thing that stands out with the Swapper is how visually unique it looks. Sure it might only be a side-on 2D platformer, but from first play you get a sense of the eerie atmosphere. The levels have been created to have a gloomy feel and one could only imagine that if you were exploring a strange, abandoned world it would look and feel just like this does. The world is also designed well as none of the rooms are connected to another and this means that any puzzle you must solve, the solution is in that room only and not back. In order to see the game’s ending you need to complete every puzzle so that you can collect all the orbs that unlock this.
You discover that the story is actually quite philosophical. Curve Studios have also done this very well, as if you want to play just a puzzle platformer, you can and don’t need to worry too much about the deep, complicated story. But if you do play it for the gripping story, be warned that it does get confusing at times and will leave you scratching your head. The length of the game is just right, it doesn’t feel like you are playing too long, but also it is short enough to leave you thinking I wish there was more. It is something that is hard to describe, but you will understand it once you played it.
The Swapper is an interesting game that upon first appearance seems a basic game. But when you play it you realise that there is so much depth to this game that you will never get bored. While you can playthrough a second time to get a different ending, you will probably find that due to the nature of having solved the puzzles once it holds no replay value. This is a very interesting game and one that is worthy of purchasing.