The New Switcharoo: SWAP

Just when I think I’ve seen everything the day has to offer, a first-person puzzle game sidles into view, its levels resembling a series of tests. Perhaps there will be a novel method of interacting with the environment? Yes, there is! The clue is in the title, SWAP, for the player has the ability to take a thing and replace it with another thing that is somewhere else. One day there will be a game called WALK in which the player has technologically advanced boots that allow ambulation in any direction and are voiced by Morgan Freeman. SWAP reminds me of Q.U.B.E., superficially at least, and is available now for a penny short of seven pounds. There’s a trailer below.

There’s potential for all manner of complexity, given that the swapping seems to allow levels to be rejigged quite extensively, but it’s definitely the kind of game that I reckon would benefit from a demo. I suppose that’s almost always the case though.


  1. Salt says:

    First person puzzle games:
    Clean white environment, heavy on right-angles and cubes.
    Popularised by Portal.

    Top-down arena shooters:
    Neon glow vector graphics, entities represented by abstract geometric shapes.
    Popularised by Geometry Wars.

    2D platformers:
    Tiny pixel art sprites, verging on abstract due to extremely low resolution.
    Popularised by Cave Story.

    First person shooters:
    The land of brown and grey.
    Popularised by Quake maybe? CoD: Modern Warfare more recently.

    What genre-aesthetics pairings have I missed that are equally pervasive?

    • phelix says:

      Quake was too damn colourful to have influenced the godawful brown-is-real hype.

      • EPICTHEFAIL says:

        I`d blame it on the obsession with realism, coupled with the fact that Cryengine 3 is (AFAIK) the only modern engine that can simulate realistic object reflection without making everything gray and static outside of cutscenes (makes the rendering easier). Consoles are also at fault, of course. The lack of good console hardware, coupled with most AAA being console-focused with PC as an afterthought, means that no big-name publisher/dev team (frequently the same thing really) wants to throw money at lighting engines and texture work that their primary audience won`t be able to see anyway.

        • PiratePuncher says:

          I think you are forgetting about Mirror’s Edge but that game is the exception.

      • Dervish says:

        Quake is notably uncolourful and Quake II is even worse.

    • NightShift says:

      I don’t know about anyone else but I’d kill myself if any other genres start getting affect by the brown rain of art styles.(Anyone who has seen Top gear(UK) knows what I’m talking about. *wink*

    • Captchist says:

      Racing games where every car is as reflective as a mountain lake and there is exactly 1 night time level. As popularised by… Grand Turismo?

    • hh10k says:

      I have no idea why you think Cave Story popularised pixelated graphics. This style has been popular ever since it was the only style.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Likewise glowing neon wireframe polygons.

      • Salt says:

        Obviously for a long time it was a technical necessity that game sprites be constructed of relatively small pixel counts. But if you look at (the original version of) Cave Story, or the masses of Indie platformers that have followed in its wake they widely feature low resolution pixel art that is there for the sake of aesthetics and/or ease of production rather than because of technical limitations. No developer for the SNES decided to double up the size of pixels in their game to make it look retro chic. Please remember I’m talking about low resolution (in comparison to the resolution possible on the target platform) pixel graphics, not all pixel art.

        Similarly the glowing lines of Geometry Wars are based on the vector displays of devices like the Vectrex and other oscilloscope-like displays from the 1970s and early 1980s, especially prevalent in arcades. At the time that was an effective way to correctly display straight-line images without the aliasing and need for increased computation to perform the rasterisation that came from using a pixel-based CRT.

        Full 3D games for standard pixel-based monitors before the advent of dedicated graphics cards tended to feature flat shaded polygons rather than the wireframes seem in vector displays. Drawing a filled polygon both looked more like the object they were trying to represent than a wireframe and by using blocks of solid colour they were able to avoid redrawing some areas of the screen, which was important as at the time fill rate was a significant limiting factor.

        In both cases for a time the visual style was a necessity due to available technology; the style virtually vanished as technology improved; now it has re-emerged as an aesthetic choice.

    • Urthman says:

      Top-down arena shooters:
      Neon glow vector graphics, entities represented by abstract geometric shapes.
      Popularised by Asteroids.

      2D platformers:
      Tiny pixel art sprites, verging on abstract due to extremely low resolution.
      Popularised by Donkey Kong.

      • Salt says:

        I should have stated more clearly in the opening post that this is about using graphical styles as an aesthetic choice rather than technical necessity.

        Donkey Kong could not have run on hardware of the time if it had used animated 128×128 sprites. Asteroids needed to use a vector display to be able to offer freely rotating objects.

  2. JackMultiple says:

    I have no idea what is going on. I guess there’s some “swapping”? Lots of quick video edits between scenes of stark white “things” and sometimes some moving/bouncing “things”. One scene was just a looong shot looking straight up, as-if trying to find the sky amongst skyscrapers. I’d be looking for a way out, too… maybe the ESC key?

    It looks unfinished. Move along, these are not the Portals you’re looking for.

  3. SuperNashwanPower says:

    I would definitely play a demo if there was one :) Looks like fun.

  4. Captchist says:

    They left the debug display running in their promotional video :S

  5. sabasNL says:

    This game looks really confusing, frustating, and switches the puzzle you have to fix alot…

  6. Terragot says:

    Wow that mechanic is dreadful.