The Swapper

Faceplam Games The Swapper is set in a far-flung space station where your Claymation spaceman talks to rocks and finds a device that that lets him clone himself up to four times and then switch his consciousness to these new clones. This new found ability lets your space-dude do things he normally couldn’t…like solve a bunch of inane puzzles and swap in-between these clones ad infinitum just to get from point A to point B. The core idea here, the cloning and swapping abilities, are intriguing ones; it’s their implementation as any kind of fun gameplay experience that’s profoundly lacking.

Let me explain…

Another title for The Swapper could be "Wallace and Gromit Go To Space Hell."

Another title for The Swapper could be: “Wallace and Gromit Go To Wonky Space Hell and Really, Really Hate It.”

I can always tell when I’m just not digging a game; it almost feels like a chore, or god forbid, actual work when I go back to playing it. Regrettably, it’s been that way for me with The Swapper.  It became “that thing I had to do” and I don’t ever want to feel that way about playing a video game. This is, by all accounts, a game I should like, being a critic of (somewhat) discerning tastes and all, but The Swapper just left me cold because it seems to be art for art’s sake. It’s like the interactive entertainment equivalent of one big circle jerk populated solely with fucking spaceman clones who aren’t really listening to you. It’s as if the developers woke up one day and said, “Hey, let’s make an arty puzzle game with Claymation graphics and set in a creepy fucking space station!” and then did just that but forgot to make it entertaining in any way. And, as far as I understand it, one cannot set out with the intentions to make art…it just has to be art.

Maybe it’s just me? Maybe I’m burned out on quirky/cool puzzle games, which seem to be the bread and butter of many an indie developer. When I stop to think about it, The Swapper definitely strikes me as a game that could’ve been designed by one of the many eccentric goofballs that populate a TV show like IFC’s Portlandia.  And, like putting a bird on every-goddamn-thing, it’s interesting and groovy at first blush but, ultimately, lame and boring when you have to look at it for an extended period of time.

Now just what the actual fuck is going on here?

Now just what the actual fuck is going on here?

You know what? I don’t feel like pulling any punches any longer: this game is ridiculous piece of pretentious shit. It’s uninstalling from my hard drive as I type this sentence. I kid you not. If your core mechanic (the god awful “clone swap,” where you have to create clones above, or to the side of you, and quickly switch to them to traverse open and/or high spaces) takes at least an hour to master, especially with sticky keyboard/mouse controls and then you force the player into using this shitty mechanic to cross almost every conceivable space in the game, fuck you and the code you rode in on, man. Seriously. And every critic who has been fawning praise over this flaming turd in video game form should have their press passes revoked…and if they don’t have press passes, which I’m guessing they don’t, then their WordPress and Blogger accounts should be suspended until they pull their oversized melons from the gaping assholes between their legs.

Now, let’s be nice and sparkling clear here: I love artistic games. I loved Flower. I loved Limbo. I loved Journey. Hell, I’d even go as far to include Bioshock and Half Life 2 into the “artistic” games category and I loved both of them too. So, I’m not sure what the disconnect between me and The Swapper is, but it is a rather large divide for sure.  This game just blows goats in my opinion. I couldn’t stop playing it fast enough. I don’t give a rat’s ass what your artistic pretensions are; bored and frustrated = not fun. I hate The Swapper and everything it stands for. End of story.

 header_292x136The Swapper was developed by Facepalm Games.

For $14.99, The Swapper will make you hate life, the universe and everything.  And not even Deep Thought can give you an answer as to why it sucks so hard.

The Swapper is available on Steam.

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9 Responses to The Swapper

  1. bitserum says:

    It’s really interesting to see a really bad review of the Swapper, though you didn’t offer much valuable insight into why you didn’t like it besides: “just because”…

    I like artistic games you mention (well limbo not so much, I was bored to death by it), but The Swapper… that was instant falling in love for me. I wrote a bit how the game for me was more of an introspection mechanism to engage in philosophy with bits of code and graphics.

    I found the mechanic incredibly fun, I was cloning myself around all the time, and spent a portion of the game just cloning, swapping and enjoying slow motion.

    I’d like to know why did you find it pretentious though? To me limbo was far more pretentious with its “I don’t need a story, screw your satisfaction, here’s more deadly puzzles with some more puzzles”.

  2. I write a lot more than “just because.” There’s about 800 words there and none of them are “just because.” I also find it interesting that someone would go to the trouble of reviewing a review!

    In regard to Limbo, it just clicked with me on a personal level whereas The Swapper did the exact opposite. I guess that’s where you and I differ, my friend. My main criteria in reviewing a game is “Am I having fun?” I ask myself that question first and foremost…although it should be plainly obvious to me as the hours slip away or I’m waiting for the game to mercifully come to a conclusion.

    What I found pretentious was the fact that Facepalm seemed to being going out of their way (i.e. trying to damn hard) to make an “art house” game here…art for art’s sake, as I said above. And I really don’t need rocks spouting pithy aphorisms at me as I’m trying to figure out what the hell to do next. Fuck those rocks.

    • bitserum says:

      I didn’t mean any personal insult if it came off as such. Still, to me your 800 words boil down to “just because”, I like your fresh perspective, but would personally enjoy it more if it was less flame words against the game and more substance.

      I found Limbo not-fun at all and I was really excited about that game prior to playing it. I even wanted to like it, but the lack of something tangible story-wise left me bored.
      Those rocks, I loved them haha. It’s interesting for me to see someone in complete contrast to myself. I was actually seeking each and every rock in game.

  3. David says:

    Nice review! This sums up pretty well how I feel about this game. After 30 minutes of play I was still trying to enjoy the game but I couldn’t. It looks good and the concept is nice but I just didn’t have fun playing it. When I read: “I can always tell when I’m just not digging a game; it almost feels like a chore, or god forbid, actual work when I go back to playing it.” I was happy to find someone who had the exact same feeling as I had.

    • Indie Gamer Guy says:

      Thanks, David. I was pretty sure there just had to be some people out there like me who found this game lacking as well.

  4. xionix55 says:

    Actually I like this game, well not really because I have not even play it, not even knew this existed until this review. But being a guy with the most weird taste in games (Halo, GTA IV and Super Castlevania IV sucks!!!), I take more emphasis about what you say about the game, then about the opinion itself. And I need to try this game, maybe I will curse more in a sentence than you did in the whole review after playing it, but have to give it a chance. Will get Fist Puncher in the near future, this one at least a demo before buying. The Swapper might be the wrong medication, but there’s a probability it will come with satisfactory effects, keep em coming Dr Bonner. Btw, I was mistaken the last time, the more you hate the game, the better your review is. Too bad there’s no a PC version of the Atari ET.

    • Indie Gamer Guy says:

      Yeah, check it out for yourself and see what you think…but definitely check out Fist Puncher!

  5. lastorset says:

    Tom Jubert actually used this review for his recently-published post mortem. Check it out:

    (I actually loved this little game, but maybe only because I’m not burned out on puzzle games. :))

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