Everything about The Swapper is minimalistic, and that includes the way it delivers its story to the player. The game takes place in a universe where humanity has exhausted their natural resources, establishing outposts in the deep space to synthesise useful materials to send back to earth. Without divulging too much more information – humans develop “The Swapper”, a device that creates clones of the user, which is quickly shunned by the experts stationed on the outposts who claim it’s dangerous and unethical. You play as an unnamed character who has been dropped into this world, who eventually finds a “Swapper” and must explore an abandoned space station to discover just what happened on the station and find his own way out of the station.
It’s important to highlight how interesting The Swapper is in terms of it’s blurring of the genres. It’s a game that could easily be interpreted as a puzzle game, in similar vein to titles like Portal. But it could easily be interpreted as a horror title given how thick the atmosphere is. But thankfully, there’s no jump-scares, no pursuers, but only words that convey the horror. This works great for two reasons – first of all, those who are frightened of the genre can easily skip all of the text and play through the game as if it were an interesting puzzle game, taking in the very well-crafted atmosphere and wrapping themselves up in the mystery and isolationist viewpoint. But second of all, those who want a truly chilling story with a very unnerving finale can easily read into the audio logs and other text collectibles strewn throughout the game world to put the story together and come to the horrifying conclusion themselves.
It speaks testament to the games atmosphere that, while the story on its own isn’t particularly unique, the way it’s presented still makes it feel like something fresh and new. This isn’t just another one of those pretentious indie titles – but the game’s content is mature and much more cerebral than your typical video game narrative. But it is a fantastic ride that shouldn’t be missed that will keep most players intrigued, or for those not following the story, engrossed from beginning to end.