Facepalm Studios, Curve Studios
PC, Mac OS X, Linux, Wii U, PS3, PS4, PS Vita
Release Date:May 20th 2013
The Swapper is an atmospheric puzzle platforming video game that was developed by the small independent development studio, Facepalm Games. The Helsinki based developer also served as publisher for the game which was initially developed for Microsoft Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems.
Since then the game has since gone on to be developed for other platforms. That now mostly complete development cycle is being headed up by Curve Studios (Stealth Bastard and Proteus) and involved porting the game from its computer based operating systems to the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. Curve Studios are also responsible for porting the game over to Nintendo’s Wii U which is soon to be released in November of 2014. .
The game was originally launched on May 20th before being ported. Post-port the game was released across other platforms on August 5th. November will bring the game to Wii U.
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The swapper is not only somewhat singular in its near universal acclaim from critics and gamers alike, it’s also somewhat special in how it came to be such a well received hit.
The game wasn’t created as an indie targeted, massively funded game. The Swapper was actually a project that was being worked on by two students from the University of Helsinki, in their spare time no less.
With the game showing such promise despite the small development team, which consisted of only Olli Harjola and Otto Hantula, The Swapper received backing from the Indie Fund. An organization created by independent developers designed to help fund indie dev’s.
At the time, The Swapper was the 6th game to be funded and backed by the Indie Fund, alongside other hits like Monaco: What’s yours is mine and Antichamber.
The games art assets are particularly worthy of note, they aren’t the typical texture that you would find in 99% of games, the various stages and backgrounds in The Swapper are made up out of hand crafted objects that were modelled in clay before being digitized. This is one of the features that not only drew the attention of indie devs, but helped give the game its stunning visual appeal. This, when combined with the soft glowing lighting in the game give it a unique and atmospheric feel.
The Swapper first launched on the 30th of May 2013 on Microsoft Windows and later on February 18th on Linux and Mac OS X, but following its success the game was set up to be ported to the home consoles as well as Sony’s struggling handheld, the PS Vita.
The port was to be handled by Curve Studios wo have had prior experience in porting Thomas Was Alone and Proteus to the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita from its native PC platform. Development went ahead as planned with on short delay that was enacted to ensure the port was “up to scratch”. Following the delay, the game successfully launched on August 5th 2014 in North America and August 6th 2014 in Europe.
Since then, Curve Studios have announced plans to launch The Swapper on the Nintendo Wii U at some time in November of 2014. They’ve since stated that the games graphical fidelity will be on par with that of its original PC counterpart.
The swapper is a platforming puzzle game set in a sidescrolling world where it uses established video game mechanics and tropes to great effect than then improves upon them to make the game feel truly special and rewarding to play.
Despite being limited to a 2D plane, the simple mechanics of the gameplay are a perfect representation of the easy to learn but difficult to master nature of competent platformers.
The player must solve puzzles in order to progress further into the game, this si done through the process of self cloning, an ability give to you thanks to a handheld mechanism that allows the player to replicate themselves four times.
This device is further augmented with the ability to swap between any of the four clones at any one given time, hence the games name. When beginning the cloning process, time is slowed down, giving the player adequate time to properly plan out their strategy.
The twist on the cloning procedure is that it’s context sensitive. Not all maneouvers can be executed at the same time or in specific areas. For example, standing in a a specific type of blue light will stop you from being able to clone at all. Red lights allow you to clone yourself as per usual, but will stop you from swapping. Purple lights will however block both of these abilities.
The player is tasked with using these clones and their synchronised movement (when you move, they do so in the same corresponding direction) to collect orbs that allow for progression further into the game.
The clones aren’t immune to damage however, if the player would normally die from a large fall or an environmental hazard, then rest assured that your clone will most certainly be destroyed as well. White light sources will destroy your clones, as will having them walk off the screen area or by having them touch another clone.
You would be forgiven for thinking that The Swapper would feature a flat and pointless narrative, as is often the case with most platforming games.
To save you from spoilers, this will be informative but vague.
Humanity has, as if often the case in games, finally exhausted its natural resources and is forced to expand into the stars to mine other planets of their materials in an attempt to synthesise something useful. To this end we establish outposts on a number of remote worlds where we are likely to find something of use.
On one of these worlds, scientists discover a strange rock with odd electro chemical activities that are quite out of place with most other discoveries. Not long after the discovery of these rocks, researchers learn how to create a device that they called The Swapper, they believe this information was passed onto them from the rocks, believing them to be a telepathic entity.
From here on, the story takes a dive into humanitarian ethics and what is morally right but fundamentally wrong and it’s discovered that these telepathic rocks are in fact much more sinister than they would first appear. But by the time the crew discover this it’s already to late.
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.