Tag Archives: The Swapper

The Swapper review

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Coming in at number three of our “Top 10 games we’d love to see on Xbox One“, The Swapper makes its Xbox One debut on Friday June 5, and an ideal opportunity for me to experience just why the TiX team had placed this so high up on their want list.

You take on the role of a nameless astronaut (sounds familiar – Lifeless Planet). The game begins with you stuck in an escape pod against your own free will, jettisoned to the below planet, Chroi V. After finding an experimental device called the Swapper, you return to the space station, Theseus, that’s in orbit.

The crew were part of the Sisyphus project, excavating the planet below, working light years from home in order to find resources to send to a population that’s dangerously low on minerals and fuel. Something sinister has happened and it seems that you and another astronaut, who arrived while you were on the planet’s surface, are the only ones left – time to navigate the vast Metroidvania layout of the Theseus in the hope of finding a way home and making some sense of what’s happened.

The story is a little jumbled, and left me with far too many questions about how and why I was in my current predicament. I struggled to form a timeline of events that made any sense, which was largely pieced together by reading through console transmissions and the thoughts of mysterious rock samples that had been recovered by the station’s crew from the planet below. It’s all a bit weird and while the game’s conclusion is particularly poignant, I felt there were far too many loose ends that should have been developed a lot further.

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The story aside, The Swapper is a fantastic collection of puzzles that must be solved by swapping. Ever fancied copying yourself? We all make jokes about it at work and in The Swapper you do exactly that… no not make bad jokes, make copies of yourself. These carbon copies can then be inhabited by your original soul, leaving your old body behind.

Each clone follows the movements of the body that your soul currently resides in until they become stuck, fall to their untimely demise or rejoin the master’s body when they touch – this is the game’s greatest trick – by restricting you to only creating an additional four bodies, and each body copying your every move, you need to meticulously plan your positioning and swapping if you are to best the puzzles throughout the ship.

The puzzles are well thought out, giving a great sense of satisfaction when you solve them, and they aren’t just navigational either. There are different coloured lights that impede the effects of the swapper device, positioning clones on pressure plates to open doors wasn’t nearly enough of a challenge, so lights that prevent you from cloning, swapping or using the device at all make for some real head scratching moments.

Later in the game, there’s another curveball to contend with – gravity lifts flip you and your clones so that you can walk on the ceiling! It really twists your mind but creates some fantastic puzzles that will have you stumped for longer than you’d care to admit.

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The environments of The Swapper are great to look at and rather eerie – think Prometheus, Dead Space and Event Horizon – while slightly unsettling, the fear of the unknown entity that killed the crew never manifests into anything, which was rather disappointing, such an eerie environment is ripe for some jump scares or a way to stalk your emotional state of mind, the sound plays to this with an excellent score.

The achievements in The Swapper are as devious as its hardest puzzles, with 10 hidden rooms that are accessible through fake walls. Each room is home to a console that contains invaluable information about the Sisyphus project – missing them will mean that you will complete The Swapper with no achievement score to show for your efforts.

The premise of the Swapper is to drive home a philosophical story about souls and the body, but I found myself wrestling with unanswered questions about the rocks, the crew and the space station for the story to have any profound emotional effect on me, with it merely sinking into background noise to what is a superb platform puzzler that is ultimately over too soon.

Thanks to Xbox for supporting TiX

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Top 10: Games we’d love to see on Xbox One

We here at TiX love our Xbox. We play with them, stroke them tenderly and place a little blanket over them at night. That being said, it’s hard not to peek over the garden fence and look at the toys that the neighbours get to play with and feel a sense of longing. We want all the toys dammit!

It’s with this in mind that we’ve decided to clog together a list of the Top 10 games we’d love to see on the Xbox One. There is only one rule, there actually has to be even the remotest possibility of it happening within this generation, so all those fantastic first party games that Nintendo and Sony get to play with? They don’t count. No The Last of Us or Super Mario Galaxy’s will be found here.

So, let us begin shall we? Or you can just head straight to the comments and tell us why we’re wrong.

10-Trucks

When I posed this article to the other fellows at the site I got a lot of suggestions. This was definitely the most unusual. It appears that Dave Moran “wouldn’t need another game for a good while” if this were to make its way over to the Xbox One. I must confess I know nothing about these games so I’ll just let Dave explain: “imagine being able to team up with friends over Live to hit the road with your awesome cargo”.

Yes. Imagine.

How likely is it to happen?

The Farming Simulator series has made its way to the Xbox, so anything is possible. There certainly does seem to be some demand for the series to come over, but nothing meaningful has happened yet unfortunately.

9-Luftrausers

Every so often, you just wanna fly in customisable planes, soar through the sky, shoot at boats, submarines and blimps until you explode in a fiery blaze of glory. The epitome of the “just one more go” game, Luftrausers is a strangely addictive game with terrific music that encourages experimentation; maybe instead of shooting planes, you install a body that takes no impact damage, so you can just ram everything to death, or a body that allows you to survive underwater. I play this game on steam with an Xbox 360 controller anyway, it should be in the Xbox library as well.

How likely is it to happen?

Surprisingly, not very likely. At least for now. There is absolutely no buzz for this game reaching the Xbox One and my queries to the developers and publishers about a port have yielded no fruit. Microsoft also insists that any game must release at the same time or before other consoles to appear on the Xbox One, otherwise known as the Parity Clause, making the odds of flying planes into blimps on the Xbox much less likely.

8-Silk-worm

Classic shoot-em up action. Silk Worm isn’t a typical two player shooter. Sure, shooting the bad guys is fun and all that, but this game had a strong emphasis on teamwork. Sometimes enemies appear that the helicopter can’t attack, allowing the Jeep to help and vice-versa. Plus, your Jeep can jump and I think we can all agree that that’s cool.

How likely is it to happen?

Quite unlikely to be honest. While popular at the time and while many still hold it dear to their hearts, there isn’t much of a push from either the developers or fans to have the game brought to the current gen consoles. Maybe I’m wrong, but it appears that going back to the source is the only way to relive Silk Worm.

7-Skate

I’m usually the first one to complain about the abundance of “HD” ports (is there a better name for this yet?) from previous consoles. That being said, there is also a real lack of skateboarding games on the current gen as of writing. Nothing fancy is needed, simply the ability to play the addictive Skate on the Xbox One would be enough, as our very own Leigh is actually considering buying an Xbox 360 solely to play some more Skate.

How likely is it to happen?

Rights aren’t the issue this time around, as they are owned by EA. The only issue is that original developers, Black Box, closed it’s doors two years ago. It wouldn’t be impossible to grab another studio to bring it to the Xbox One however, so I reckon the odds of this happening are quite good, especially with a new Tony Hawk game in the works, I’m sure EA would enjoy stealing attention from Activision.

6-VVVVVV

Hardcore, platforming awesomeness. This excellent, bizarrely named throwback to the Commodore 64 games (many of which are on this list) takes gravity round the back of the shed, Old Yeller style, and tearfully puts a shotgun between its eyes, as you can flip your downward trajectory at any moment (as long as you’re not in mid-air). Add an awesome soundtrack and great, unique visuals and you have a game that should be, but isn’t, on the Xbox.

How likely is it to happen?

Not very. VVVVVV has already made its way to the 3DS and the Vita version has apparently been “imminent” for a while, but no home console version has been released. Terry Cavanagh, the game’s creator, is perfectly at home making his own games at a blistering rate on the PC and given Microsoft’s Parity Clause, it’s unlikely he’ll be approached to make a port anytime soon. Ah well, it’s cheap and hardly an issue performance wise on the PC anyway.

5-Resi

What’s with the first Resident Evil game getting all this love? It’s about time the other games followed in suit. While an HD remaster would be lovely, it isn’t necessary. A simple port of the sequels would suffice. Hell, if not these, how about Code Veronica? The game that was actually meant to be Resident Evil 3. Personally, Resident Evil 2 was the trilogy at it’s best as it was a combination of the puzzle elements of the original and a more straight-forward action game with more momentum as opposed to exploring the same mansion for hours. Xbox port please!

How likely is it to happen?

It’s almost surprising that this hasn’t happened yet. Resident Evil has been remade not once, but twice now. Capcom has also released 5 other games in the franchise, as well as Code Veronica, a slew of handheld games, a bloody squad shooter of all things and are soon to enter the realm of episodic gaming with Revelations 2. My point is that Capcom have shown little restraint in this matter, yet so far have made very few peeps for Resident Evil 2 and 3.. This one is surely just a matter of time.

4-Dizzy

With Adventure games making their supposed comeback, now seems like a perfect time to revisit one of the best examples we have to offer in Dizzy. With thoughtful puzzles and a giant helping of charm, surely there’s a place for Dizzy on the Live Arcade.

How likely is it to happen?

Recent ports to mobile platforms prove that not only is there interest in the series but that the Oliver Twins (as well as Codemasters whom share 50% of the rights) are keen to re-release the game. They also stated in an interview that ports to home consoles were something they were interested in. However, given that Blitz Games Studios closed just over a year ago, it’s hard to see them personally taking charge in porting it to the Xbox.

3-The-Swapper

There is every chance that a lot of you have not played, or even heard of this recent game. If that is the case then I greatly envy you, as you have a brilliant experience awaiting you. If the fantastic mind-bending puzzles don’t get you, then the very distinct and memorable visual style, which was achieved by scanning real-world objects, will. If that doesn’t grab you then the story, music and one of the most chilling, unforgettable endings I’ve ever experienced will. If you still don’t like it then I guess there’s no hope for you.

How likely is it to happen?

While originally a PC game, it has recently been ported, with great success, to the Playstation 4, 3 and Vita, proving that the game can survive without a mouse and keyboard. The only real thing stopping it from coming to Xbox is, unfortunately, Microsoft itself due to the aforementioned Parity clause which also restricts Luftrausers and VVVVVV from likely hitting the Xbox One.

However, after the PC and PS4 game Outlast got distributed to the Xbox One, it was revealed that Microsoft are taking games on a case by case matter. So perhaps we’ll see this fantastic game show up some day soon.

2-Turrican

A huge, multi-scrolling platform-shooter, Turrican was just plain fun. Fast-paced with great music, you could spend hours just exploring the levels, looking for hidden areas and bonus collectables. As our very own Phil puts it, there was simply nothing else like it at the time and upon my suggestion of doing this article, there was almost a heavenly chorus that wanted Turrican to make the cut.

How likely is it to happen?

In 2013, German magazine Retro Gamer revealed in a retrospective of the game that there was proof of an Xbox 360 version of Turrican in the works before the publisher withdrew support due to “lack of interest”. In the same article, hope remains as it is revealed that a new Turrican game is in the works, with potential development coming from Black Forest Games, creators of Giant Sisters: Twisted Dreams. However, this was 18 months ago now and there seems to have been no updates. We can but hope.

1-Metal-Gear-Solid

Oh boy, this needs to happen, this NEEDS to happen. One of the most defining and ground breaking games of all time (for better or worse) and a game that still holds up to this day. This is one of those occasions where I simply don’t care about it being HD or not, simply infiltrating Shadow Mosses with Solid Snake and fighting Psycho Mantis, Ocelot and Raven would be enough.

How likely is it to happen?

Two years ago, the Metal Gear Solid: Legacy Collection released for the PS3, containing every single Metal Gear game to date (well, the important ones anyway). Hideo Kojima said at the time that he would love to port it over to the Xbox 360 but that there simply wasn’t enough room on the DVDs. Although he did state “When it’s the next [Xbox] console, maybe we can release it”.

There’s a slither of hope there, especially with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain coming this year, it is conceivable that the Legacy collection could get a re-release. Except for 1 and 4, pretty much every other Metal Gear game has made their way to the Xbox, even the handheld Peace Walker. I think it’s about time that the Xbox got to go to Shadow Mosses!

Well there you go. We don’t ask for much, just lots and lots of awesome games. How about you? Which games would you like to see on the Xbox One?