There are few games that have made me think as much as The Swapper. Both for its ingenious puzzles and philosophical quandaries regarding concepts like memory, existence, the individual, and the truly alien. Wait don’t run away! If you can’t stand philosophy (I don’t have much use for it myself) than don’t worry. You can ignore all that plot and focus on the brilliant puzzles; beautiful and distinctive Claymation based art style, and the truly unique game mechanic.
That game mechanic is the titular swapper, which allows you to create up to four clones of yourself that you can then transfer your consciousness into. The puzzles start out simple (put a clone on a button to open a wall than put another in the opening to get the thing) but become increasingly complex as new factors are added. These include gravity manipulation, teleporters, and certain lights that inhibit your clone making and body swapping shenanigans. Another factor that may affect the difficulty is your own morality.
You see, in order to solve many of the puzzles you will have to kill a lot of clones. As the body count rises, you may find yourself asking some uncomfortable questions. Are the clones sentient or are they just meat puppets? Am I a serial killer? A serial suicider? You’ve long since left your original body but you’re in an exact cloned body so what’s the difference? Are you you? These questions and more will trouble you as you travel the station attempting to piece together what happened to everyone. And despite all the dead clones, you will quickly learn you’re not quite as alone as you thought.
The Swapper will take you roughly three to five hours to get through, depending on how quickly you can figure out the puzzle mechanics. If possible, it is highly recommended you play the game without looking up walkthroughs for that extra sense of satisfaction. Though the game controls well on consoles, if you play on your laptop only do so if you have a mouse, as the game is almost unplayable with just a laptop touchpad. Unfortunately, as with most puzzle games there is little reason to come back to the game after solving all of the puzzles, particularly since they start to become a bit tedious near the end, and once the plot really heats up you might start suffering a bad case of Towelieitis as you have no idea what’s going on. However, the ending more than makes up for such dents in an otherwise polished experience.
Without spoiling anything, there are two possible endings; I refer to them as the Swap or the Drop. You’ll know what they are when you get there, and all I’ll say is I took the Swap ending with no hesitation and it has made me question my sense of morality and humanity ever since. No other game has come close to making me feel so disturbed and uneasy as The Swapper making it a must play for anyone who enjoys great science fiction, great puzzles, or if you just want to play something dark, moody and somewhat thought-provoking.