Swapshot is the type of game that Eastasiasoft does right. When I think of the publisher, besides the visual novels and anime girls, I see them supporting classic shmups, the odd epic, and, of course, decent pixel art platformers such as this.
Developed by Naoka Games, this is the epitome of those mentioned above. A simple by design platformer that gets increasingly difficult the further you progress. It’s a relatively short game on paper, but based on the mechanics, it should have you stumped on more than one occasion.
There’s no real story here; you’re just thrown into a room and learn the controls through the standard pop-ups of move and jump. Initially, I wasn’t too keen on the jumping aspect. Swapshot is not all that floaty but could do with a bit of polishing on the landing. Wait, that’s on me.
Swapshot PS5 Review: Swapsies
A few levels later, I’d already got the hang of it and was premature in my assessment. The setup is simple enough: get from one end of the room to another, avoiding spikes, triggering pressure switches, moving boxes, and teleporting.
When you first use the gun in Swapshot, you soon realise that it wasn’t designed for enemies but as a problem solver. With only a few bullets, you have to use these wisely to exit the room. Failing that, jump on a spike or restart the stage. It’s not about getting it perfect for an achievement, but because dem’s da rules. But why, oh why, does this bullet take an age to move?
The hero doesn’t have some superpower to outrun bullets; it’s the actual gun. When a bullet hits an object, you will trade places with it. Genius! So, stand one end of the stage, shoot your gun, hop up a few ledges or so, and if you time it right, the box might just land on a pressure switch.
Outrun A Bullet!
Again, jumping in Swapshot takes a little getting used to, but before long, the puzzles predominantly present the challenge. Hazards are manageable if you exercise a little patience, but being able to jump and shoot and race to a position as fast as you can does prove to be irritating if your timing is off.
Practice makes perfect, though, and the difficulty balance is decent. Once again, Eastasisoft does a bit of carrot dangling and awards trophies every other level, and then the gaps get wider. By level 20, you should have started to encounter some difficulties, meaning that come stage 35, you will have felt like you’ve earned it.
I enjoyed Swapshot. The gameplay is just right for a low-key indie platformer. The levels of challenge and the key mechanic of teleporting and then timing your positioning were very good. Worth a look.