Swaps and Traps (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle platformer
Developer: TeamTrap
Publisher: TeamTrap
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

Swaps and Traps (Switch) – Review

Site Score
6.5
Good: High replayability
Bad: Frustratingly difficult at times
User Score
7.0
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.0/10 (4 votes cast)

You might be having a feeling of déja-vu when you see we’re posting a review of puzzle platformer Swaps and Traps, and you’d be right: We’ve covered the PC version before here. The game has made the jump to the Switch now, and although it might look the same, the controls feel so different, it might as well be a different game altogether.

Story

“Once upon a time, there was a hat…” This is where the story of Swaps and Traps begins. You see, the aforementioned hat has the tendency to change everything it touches, including people. One of these people is the evil villain Divider. Another is our protagonist, the self-proclaimed “ordinary man turned legendary hero”, Mike. Mike is also our narrator, and breaks the fourth wall by directly giving us the necessary information in a cutscene. When Divider steals the hat, it is up to Mike to reclaim it and defeat Mike once again. The rest of the events unfold through short cutscenes between levels. One thing that might be confusing to newcomers is the introduction to the story, which clearly alludes to previous events and gives the impression that this game is actually a sequel. It is not, but the characters of Mike and Divider clearly have history. This might be an attempt to give the feeling of a fleshed-out story, but it makes the player feel left out as if they have missed something here.

Graphics

The game is presented in a simplistic, cartoonish style, with menus that look like they belong in a mobile game rather than a console release. These graphics suit the inherent silliness of the story presented here, but they hide how brutally difficult the game truly is. We’re not looking at a game that pushes any sort of graphical processing power and everything looks smooth and clean. The animation in the cutscenes looks a bit choppy though. This shouldn’t really bother anyone as it fits the graphical style, despite it likely not being intentional.

Sound

The voice acting in the game is convincing, although hearing Divider repeat the same phrases over and over when you die can become annoying and repetitive after a while. There’s not a huge variety in the sound design here either: levels all sound the same, with the same music track repeated over and over throughout the levels. The music doesn’t sound bad, but like Divider’s phrases, it can become repetitive. Luckily, it’s one of those games where the sound isn’t essential, so muting your Switch and putting on something more relaxing is always an option.

Gameplay

Your aim in this puzzle platformer is to collect the key that are in hard-to-reach locations on each of the 100 levels, and then using said key to unlock the Divider portal. Each stage is a single screen, filled with platforms and deadly traps you have to avoid as you navigate you way through the dangers around you. Upon grabbing the key, Divider will interfere and swap parts of the level round. These swaps only happen visually though, so when you jump in or out of a swapped part, you’ll reappear to a location relative to the original position. To help you figure out where to move next, it’s possible to look up a pre-swap picture of the level. Levels are filled with deadly traps though, and there is no margin of error to avoid these. You read that right: no margin of error. The game is brutal and unforgiving, the slightest mistake will send Mike to his untimely demise. You’ll respawn pretty much instantly, allowing you to try again, although you’ll have to redo the entire stage you’re on. Fortunately, these stages never take more than a few seconds to complete, although you’ll likely need several tries to succeed in completing them. Given the size of the Switch’s own screen, and how unforgiving the game is, it’s best not to play it in handheld mode but on the tv, if only to prevent squinting. The luxury of a larger screen surface gives you a bit more leeway in determining whether or not you can make that jump without dying.

Whereas the PC version had very tight and responsive controls, the Switch version falls flat in this regard. It’s hard to pin down exactly what went wrong here, everything feels a tad too sensitive, even moving, which is frustrating in a game where you’ll die if you’re within a single frame of a hazard. It results in a version of the game that feels unfairly difficult and frustrating at times, but it’s also quite addictive and you’ll find yourself retrying a level over and over until you finally succeed. For those that feel extra masochistic, each level also has a time to beat, adding an incentive to keep replaying the levels. Completionists will also enjoy the fact that the game has achievements to unlock, so there should be plenty to keep you busy before you 100% the game.

Conclusion

Despite having shortcomings, especially compared to its Steam brother, Swaps and Traps still provides an enjoyable time on Switch. Although you’ll be cursing at the screen, you’ll find yourself retrying a level over and over. Having that “one more try”-feeling is the best a game like this can hope for, and Swaps and Traps manages to deliver just that.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (4 votes cast)
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Swaps and Traps (Switch) - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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