*SPOILERS* What ending did you choose and why? :: The Swapper General Discussions
I'd “swapped” into one clone's body – leaving another abandoned and scope, does Kenshi meet its promises after 5 years in early access? are very nearly peerless – puzzles are basically the be-all, end-all of the game. 3 hours later, I did it, and all I can say about the ending was: wow. Later you pick up another component which allows you to swap places with your clones. Later on, you'll meet the one other survivor on the ship. Who are. The Swapper is a extraordinary puzzle game that asked serious questions. These questions plagued me the entire time I watched a clone meet its end. Red lights do not allow the character to swap consciousness with clones, blue lights.
And people would just kind of accept it. I mean, why not? The Swapper examines many of the same underpinning aspects of the clone conundrum, but with a third, equally chill-inducing question: Tools whose skin your soul can occupy at will. At first, I found it completely shocking. Then — like you do — I took a step forward. He landed right in front of me, limbs dancing wildly, free of the restrictions normally imposed by our simple human notions of un-shattered bones.
I wondered if there was some element of morality to it — if the game was silently judging me for each callously crushed, powdered, or vaporized clone. Slowly but surely, however, that feeling evaporated.
[Spoiler]The truth behind the Swapper :: The Swapper General Discussions
Eventually, all I could do is laugh when three bodies cratered right next to me in rapid succession. So many puzzles, so many brutally deceased doubles. But they were really, really, really good puzzles!
They begin simply enough, with your gun-like Swapper device being able to spit out up to four clones at once. They move precisely as you do, and you can take direct control i. It is, then, a game of positioning. One-by-one, area-after-area, new elements pile on. The swapper device is bound to draw comparisons to another puzzle device which all you gamers know as the portal gun.
It is very similar in the sense that it has two functions and those two functions allow you to complete the myriad of puzzles thrown at you. In fact, as far as comparisons to Portal go, the game is very much the same kind of fare where solving puzzles makes you feel incredibly clever. Back to game mechanics. As you walk, all your clones walk and do identical actions to you.
Now the puzzles in The Swapper range from fairly intuitively easy to mindboggling difficult. I will admit, I had to consult a walkthrough about half a dozen times because I just got stuck in certain rooms.
Luckily, the game admits for some failure and you can finish the game without completing every room. The game ramps up the difficulty too at a steady pace by introducing new restrictions in the form of coloured lights. You have to cleverly navigate the small spaces, turn the lights on and off with boxes and switches, do quickly timed swaps and clone creation and even sometimes lure your clones to their death so you can free up another clone somewhere else. Also, bringing two clones together into the same space will eliminate the extras, which can be another way to free up further clones.
This introduces a whole new level of mindfuckery and allows for some truly creative puzzles. Overall, the puzzle element in this game is solid. Some require a bit of trial and error, and others I just found impossible and discovered via walkthroughs that you need to do some very precise sequence of events in order to finish. But these are relatively few and far between; I solved the majority of puzzles within a few minutes.
The puzzles feel very well designed and nothing requires a great amount of skill to solve, just brainpower. Of course there are timed elements to it but because time slows down when you hold down the clone creation tool, these elements are pretty easy. Ok, enough about the puzzles.
Like I mentioned, the whole game is sculpted out of clay. This gives a tremendous feeling of texture and makes it all seem very solid. The art design is just sublime. The style is haunting, very mysterious, with heavy sci-fi influences.
It reminded me of Rapture from Bioshock 1. If you took out the splicers from Rapture and just made it an exploration game, you would get the same kind of feel as you find in The Swapper. That hauntingly empty, slightly mysterious, slightly scary look that the game has is all enhanced by the beautiful ambient music.
On…The Swapper | Universe of Discourse
There are levels set in a garden-like area, where the foliage has overgrown and it all looks very alien but still pretty. There are some huge landscapes which involve you floating out in space to reach other areas of the ship, navigating your way through the space debris and admiring the view of the stars behind you. Short and intricate piano tunes are tinkled out at low volumes, never overbearing, only enough is there to keep you immersed.
Add that to the overlays of text indicating words spoken or telepathically transmitted? What are their motives? Why are they directing you to do certain things? Because, spoiler alert, the other survivor is in fact, three minds in one body.
The minds once belonged to Dr Chalmers, Dr Dennett who are, rather delightfully, female…reminds me of the scumbag philosopher meme: You are a clone, or are they a clone?
The Swapper integrates this metaphysical conundrum seamlessly with the game play. Who is the real you? How many clones did you watch fall to their deaths in order for you to reach your goal? The game pits a physicalist view consciousness is just a byproduct of physical processes, we are just our brains against the dualist view consciousness is immaterial, minds are separate from brains. Some memory logs tell you about how The Watchers infected people on the ship, made them sick until they died.
Other memory logs detail the conversations between Dr Chalmers who supports the dualist view and Dr Dennett who supports physicalism. Particularly when you finally see a flashback of Dr Chalmers and Dr Dennett and they are none other than…brains in a vat!
After all, when you swap to a new clone, the other clones including your previous body become kind of mindless zombies, who just mimic your action but are incapable of making choices about movement for themselves. This to me suggests that there is one mind, and many cloned bodies, and the swapper device does not make new minds.
But then comes the question, when you switch places, are you being transferred somehow? Or are you merely assuming the role of a mind that was previously inaccessible?
How are these minds linked? Is there enough psychological continuity to justify the idea that you are playing the same person throughout this game, or are you in fact playing as many different people?
The Swapper Review & Giveaway
Furthermore, I think the fact that this is a video game adds a whole extra dimension to it. After all, you the player are a mind, presumably, who is controlling this character on the screen. Your mind is psychologically continuous with your future mind states as you play through this game. So there is a sense in which you continue throughout these characters, whether the same character survives or persists throughout. It is a body which seems to contain three minds and talks with the same voice, acts in the same body, but for all intents and purposes, appears to be three different people.
Dennett is critical of the existence of souls, claiming that the swapper does not swap around souls for souls do not exist. I have been in many bodies, and yet I still feel myself. Regardless of which stance you take, you must still grapple with the question who is this person after the three minds come together into one, this fusion between three souls or three minds or three whatevers?