In these days of 3D, ultra realism, motion control and blood splattered grit-fests it’s just lovely to see a good old-fashioned fun title. Now from the good people at Hothead Games (makers of guilty pleasure Deathspank) comes Swarm, for the PSN and XBLA. Swarm is a game that if I had to categorise (and TSA dictates that I do) I would put it in the Lemmings meets Worms meets Pikmin area.
- Developer: Hothead Games
- Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
- Release Date(s): March 22/23 2011 PSN/(XBLA
Controlling the Swarm is done using the left stick. Players are able to guide the swarm as one entity rather than one at a time and they’re pretty nimble too most of the time. The Swarm responds well with the analogue controller and it’s important that they do as they’ll be navigating plenty of obstacles throughout the game. Of course there’s much more to it than merely pointing right and running, the swarm can spread out wide, move into a huddled group, stack on top of one another, run, jump and that’s just for starters.
Swarm hits PlayStation 3 today, after being out on XBLA for a week. Make sure you give it a shot.
The levels themselves are obviously fraught with danger and your aim is to keep as many little Swarmites alive as possible. Luckily though, there are checkpoints scattered throughout stages that will return any Swarmites you’ve lost up until that point. This is a massively welcome addition to Swarm as you will lose many a creature throughout each stage. It is therefore a competitive and challenging title but it doesn’t always feel like it.
Visually Swarm manages to seem charming from the opening menu screen, even the hilariously graphic death sequences are a real treat but some will be surprised by the visceral cartoony violence on show. Even the title screen contains a warning not to press a certain button on your controller pad, which everyone will inevitably do and this kills a little Swarmite on your screen in a randomly generated hilarious manner. It all depicts a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and that’s always a humbling touch for any title obsessed with killing fat, blue, aliens.
The majority of the game has a cartoon like quality to it, but one of those edgy cartoons with adult humour in them that you didn’t get when you were 8 but you still watched them. Each level is a linear A to B affair but there’s plenty of variety in between them. Explosions look nice, obstacles are generally clearly displayed and the deaths are definitely the highlight of the presentation display.
Swarm is a great title for many reasons, one important one being that it’s such a joy to play but another is the amount of game time players can get out of it. For a downloadable title Swarm pushes players to work hard for their achievements and sweat for 100 percent completion. Every level has tiny orbs to collect and picking these up increases your multiplier which in turn increased your score, lose Swarmites and your multiplier/score goes down. Therein lies the challenge, then throw into the bargain that there are five DNA strands hidden in each level to collect.
Your overall game score depends on all these factors and each new level requires a certain score to unlock it, so players really will have to revisit levels and perfect their swarming skills.
- Incredibly fun gameplay
- Charming yet gruesome graphics and animations
- Plenty of items to collect, levels to unlock and scores to reach
- Levels can suffer from repetitiveness
- Despite it’s appearance Swarm is not a game for beginners or those scared of a challenge
Swarm is not only an attractive looking title but it’s one that has similarly appealing gameplay as well. It’s becoming more and more commonplace for downloadable titles to take up consumer attention and Swarm is certainly a game that deserves yours.