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The Swapper (2013)

i don't play a lot of video games these days, but i do like to support the charity Humble Bundle, particularly since the bundles usually include some pretty great games. The Swapper wasn't the main reason i got Humble Bundle 11, but my brother recommended that i play it, and i'm glad that he did because it's probably one of the best video games i've played in a few years.

There isn't one particular element that makes this puzzle-platformer so fantastic, it's pretty much everything. The puzzles themselves start out very basic but become incredibly difficult - the sort where i'm staring at the screen for upwards of fifteen minutes trying to work out in my head how to solve it. On top of that, the atmosphere is absolutely beautiful. The opening introduction scene is reminiscent of what i remember liking about the movie Gravity, and the story treads upon some interesting moral grounds as it relates to the Swapper/cloning mechanic that's used to solve the puzzles. The story itself is pretty fascinating, but it's delivered in such a way that it never feels like it interrupts the gameplay. And then all of the small details, from the control mappings to the sound and music choices - the game sets a great example for how when all of the details large and small are executed with great care, the overall product can truly be stunning.

If i was going to come up with a single gripe about the game, it would be the ending in which the typical "moral choice" aspect is given where you can basically get ending A or ending B and you can't get the alternate ending without playing through the entire game again. It feels like an unnecessary tactic in general these days because those that are actually interested in playing the game again will do so regardless of that, and those that aren't will just look up the alternate ending on YouTube, so why bother to make the choice so permanent?

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March 2017