The Swapper (Wii U) Review

By Shane Jury 23.11.2014

Review for The Swapper on Wii U

Although many will recognise the publisher of The Swapper - Curve Studios - to be behind many of the top digital offerings on the Wii U eShop like Stealth Inc. 2 and Lone Survivor, the game's developer is new to the scene. Finland-based studio Facepalm Games is a relatively small team and The Swapper is its debut project, one that has already made waves of commotion in the independent developer circuit with numerous laurels and accolades. First releasing on Steam, and then on the PlayStation line, the game now graces the Wii U eShop. Is The Swapper truly a face palm on Wii U, or a hearty thumbs up?

The Swapper tells the story of remote space station colonies, built to attain materials and resources for a future Earth that has nearly expired its own quantity. One such station is where the player will find their controlled character, an unnamed astronaut, as they look for a means to escape from the dilapidated and abandoned facility that has been hit by an unknown tragedy. As progression is made through the eerie corridors and echoing hallways, telepathic messages appear on screen by way of the meteorite-like Watcher Stones littered through the game, furthering the story along in a subtle, yet elegant manner.

One element of the game that will strike straight away is the visual style and sound direction. Facepalm Games took a novel approach when creating the look of The Swapper, and used real-life handcrafted clay assets that were converted into digital form. The end result is a beautiful and captivating art manner that truly shines (pun intended) with the game's lighting system, and a low-key soundtrack that embodies the isolation and reverberant sounds and tones of an abandoned facility in space.

Screenshot for The Swapper on Wii U

Early on in the game, a tool called The Swapper is found, that allows the user to create up to four copies of themselves, and switch between each within line of sight; this provides both the backdrop towards the layout of the game's puzzles and the means to find an exit. Finding special energy orbs is essential for progress, with each being sealed off within puzzle rooms, and backtracking is required at times to take different paths. The puzzles start off simple, but later introduce new obstacles, such as coloured lights that prohibit clone creation or transfer, teleporters and gravitational streams that shift the astronaut's positioning, leading to some truly fiendish mind teasers.

The Swapper is tied solely to the GamePad as an input, which is a plus for the convenience of the map screen on the controller and a natural advantage for Off-TV play. Movement takes a little time to get used to; the left stick moves the astronaut and the right stick controls his field of vision with a cursor on the screen, like a computer mouse. This scheme does become second nature in time, however, and will rarely be the cause of a puzzle sequence mistake. Using Off-TV play does bring in a secondary optional control scheme that uses the touch screen in place of the right stick as the aiming tool, which works quite well as an alternate, though it does leave the question as to why the conventional TV method works only with the GamePad alone, given that pressing Y during Off-TV brings up the map.

Like the theme of the game's world, The Swapper is a detached experience, strictly for the lone player without any hint of online connectivity. This completely works for the tone the game sets and maintains throughout its venture, and ensures it will leave a lasting impression. The completest nature of The Swapper, in that the rewards are found along the course of the game instead of in nooks and crannies, and the linearity of the storyline limits replay value, but the first time through more than justifies that hard-earned £11.99.

Screenshot for The Swapper on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Taking many tropes from the Metroidvania sub-genre of games, and adding a mechanic all of its own, The Swapper succeeds in creating an interesting world to explore and challenging puzzles to conquer amidst one of the most atmospheric backdrops ever put to a video game.

Developer

Curve Digital

Publisher

Curve Digital

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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