terça-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2015

The Swapper: a good game to observe puzzle mechanics

The Swapper is my new favourite entertainment. The game is a puzzle-platformer developed in 2014 by Facepalm Games, a small Finnish independent studio.

The game has awesome features allied to the puzzle mechanics and it's possible to see a perfect balance between narrative, scenario, mechanics and interface. Let's talk about each one of them.

The narrative is about a space traveller trying to get out of a mysterious abandoned space station. The dark scenario is perfect and there's an aura of fear and anxiety all the time.

The game operates in a side scrolling 2D and this choice of interface is determinant for the puzzle development.

The game mechanics is very clever. Your space explorer has a clone weapon and it's possible to "launch" a clone of your character in an unachievable part of the scenario to complete a puzzle. Check a video below:

Another weapon allows transferring your conscience to the clone to finish the puzzles. The Swapper is a good exercise of level and puzzle design to observe.

The main idea of the game is to collect some orbs to open panels and try to runaway from the space station.

Fullerton says (2008, p.324) that puzzles are also a key element in creating conflict in almost all single player games. There is an innate tension in solving the puzzle. They can contextualize the choices that players make by valuing them as they move toward or away from the solution.

The Swapper is my most played game of this year. Waiting for new content from Facepalm.


FULLERTON, Tracy; SWAIN, Christopher; HOFFMAN, Steven. Game design workshop: a playcentric approach to creating innovative games. Burlington: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2008.

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