This year has been many things. One of them has been me catching up on all the great titles that came out in 2013 and just whooshed past me due to my inability to keep up with modern gaming as it unfolds. At this point, I’ve now gotten to experience the exploratory coming-of-age walking simulator that is Gone Home, the somber journey of siblings in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, what it is like to kill both deer and humans with the same tone in Tomb Raider, quirky personality quizzes in Doki Doki Universe, removing and revisiting bad memories in Remember Me, and using clones unemotionally to make progress in The Swapper.
For some reason, I stopped playing The Swapper right before the last few puzzles and end sequence. My bad. I didn’t know how close I was to the end at the point, but I suspect I just got busy with some other games and planned to return to it later. Well, I have now, having finished it up over the weekend after getting the required 124 orbs to move on, much to my heart’s sadness, though probably to my brain’s happiness. My cups of coffee are also pleased with this news.
Anyways…man. What a game. For those that don’t remember what’s going on here, you control an astronaut with a mysterious gun-like device called the Swapper, which allows her to make clones and swap between them. You’ll use this device to solve puzzles, collect orbs, and make your way further through and discover what ultimately happened to the crew of Theseus, a space station in great distress after taking highly complex rock formations of unknown origin on board. Most of the story details surface in computer data logs, but you will eventually meet a character or two that speak, as well as a bunch of rocks with too much time on their minds.
Look, I’m not gonna lie. A few of The Swapper‘s puzzles nearly broke my brain. Generally, they involved platforms and being down one clone. I’d say I had to look up the solutions to five or six of them in total, but only after I banged my head against the wall for at least fifteen or twenty minutes. I tried, I really did. But I didn’t want one puzzle stopping all my progress in this gorgeous and deeply dark tale of identity, so some “cheating” had to occur. Otherwise, I figured out the rest on my own, and many of the puzzles are really satisfying to unravel. I also enjoyed how you have to use the Swapper device to sometimes navigate from room to room, just to get to the next puzzle. It’s quite exhilarating to hit a gravity switch and go zooming up to the ceiling, only to make a clone a second before you make contact and swap to them; also, pretty disturbing.
Evidently, there are Achievements for The Swapper, but none of them relate to the main path. In fact, after making my final choice (I swapped, for those that are curious) and watching the credits roll, I had to do some light Google research to make sure my copy wasn’t glitched or something. We’re so engrained this day and age to get some kind of pop-up when you do something cool or momentous, but that’s not the case here. Fine, fine. The Achievements are for finding secret, hidden consoles throughout the map that contain special messages; I discovered zero during my entire six or seven hours. Oh well.
But let’s end with this, because it’s really all I want anyone reading to take away from this post: y’all need to play The Swapper.