Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Game Of The Week: The Swapper [PS Vita]

The Swapper is a 2D side-scrolling sci-fi platform game, which was originally developed for PC, Linux and Mac operating systems, but which has been recently adapted for the PS Vita and PS3 by Curve Studios.

The game essentially explores the issue of human cloning. Players take on the role of a person stranded on a damaged space station from which they are desperately trying to escape. Players must explore the station and find orbs that are used to activate certain doors, allowing them to progress further into the game.

Players will be given a handheld cloning device early in the game. This eponymous device is called 'The Swapper', which has two main functions: firstly, using the device will allow the player  to create up to four simultaneous clones of the original playable character, and secondly, the device gives players the ability to swap control to any of these clones as long as they are within the original character's direct field of vision.

Clones will mirror the original character's movements exactly throughout the game unless they are blocked by the various coloured lights that can be found throughout the environment. Each coloured light has a different affect on the clones:

Blue Light - Prevents players from creating any new clones, but clones who were created before the blue light area can walk through the blue areas without any difficulty.

Red Light - This prevents clones from being able to jump, which can be especially tricky in certain sections of the game.

Purple Light - This light causes a combination of the red and blue light effects upon the clones. Thus, new clones cannot be created whilst in a purple area, and already created clones will be unable to jump whilst in the area of purple light as well. Successfully navigating the coloured lights and other environmental obstacles such as gravitational reversal is a player's primary concern within the game and it is not an easy task to achieve. 

As well as the lights, there are a number of puzzles which will have to be solved. Each puzzle is difficult enough to make players think, but not so brain-taxing that the game feels boring or impossible to complete.

The game does allow players to go back and forth between already explored areas of the game. This is useful as it does allow players the chance to solve all of the game's puzzles in whichever order they choose to do so, which means that they can apply the knowledge gained in latter portions of the game to any of the earlier puzzles that they have not yet completed.

In conclusion, the game has a visually atmospheric graphic style and a simple but pseudo-philosophical narrative, which will keep most players adequately entertained. The only disappointing factor about the game is that it does seem a little too short, but on the other hand, the game never seems to lag or get boring either.

The game is available to download now from the PS Store. If you are looking for a nice new sci-fi game that will not leave you badly out of pocket, then this may just be the game for you. Overall Mini Gamers rating: 8/10.

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