Have you ever wished to be a sadistic mass murder, but you didn’t want to go to jail for it? Well I have the perfect solution for you. It comes in the form of cute, blue creatures called swarmites. Yes, swarmites. These little creatures are your minions to control in the recently released Swarm by Hothead games.
In Swarm, you control 50 little blue swarmites, and help guide them through a dangerous planet that they crash landed on. These creatures are dispatched by Momma to collect DNA to save their race from doom.
What Quenched My Thirst
The game is based around maneuvering your minions through different levels avoiding any deadly obstacles you come upon. To do this, you can change the way you control the swarm. You can group them, stack them, spread them, make them jump, sprint and other things to make it through the levels. They made controlling them very simple by only using a few buttons on the controller, and creating a simple experience to learn, but more difficult to master.
Though you may want to make it past these obstacles without losing your swarmites, it is more fun just to run them into the deadly traps. It is great to see their little blue bodies explode leaving blue blood on the floor. In fact, you will have to kill off some of them to make it through the game.
As you traverse the levels, you have to not only finish the game with a swarmite, but you also have to reach a certain amount of points to beat the level. As you gain points, a multiplyer bar will fill and keep going up as you gain points, but if you reach a stint in which you do not find anything to help keep the multiplier up, you can just kill one of the swarmites. Each time you kill one, the bar will go back up and really adds to the this idea that you need to kill them off.
To help you deal with your mass murdering, they created an overall aesthetic for the game that is beautiful in a gritty, dark, dreadful way. The decaying planet that these poor little swarmites have crashed landed on is beautifully rendered in dark, dreary colors. It really adds to that feeling that death is imminent, and death is what this game is really about.
What Left A Bitter Taste
Though the game starts off as a really fun experience, it will become quit tedious and frustrating. The first few levels hold your hand and act as a training ground for what is to come. The problem with this is that it seems they expect you to be a master at controlling the swarm just after the first few levels. After those levels, you will need to use all aspects of controlling the creatures to make it through the game. Now it would not bother me that much if I was not just thrust into hard levels right after learning these things.
There is also the whole points and completion aspect of the game. At points in the game, it is just hard enough to get through the game with all the swarmites, let alone making it with enough points. In order to beat many of the levels, you cannot loose all of the swarmites and start at a checkpoint because you will lose your multiplier. The multiplyer is key. You must keep it up to finish with enough points. I found myself restarting levels many times, and it became a little frustrating. You really have to find that perfect middle ground between moving quickly, and taking your time.
I also think the game is a little to expensive. It cost 1200 MS points and $14.99 on PSN. I just do not feel like there is enough content to justify this price. If it was $5 cheaper, then I would probably say it is worth the purchase, but at the price it is, I am not sure if it offers enough content to purchase at this time.
Overall, Swarm is a fun game at times, but can become very frustrating. I like the whole tracking system of telling you how many swarmites you have killed, and I like the idea of using their deaths to your advantage. But, the steep learning and sometimes frustrating gameplay can prevent some people from throughly enjoying the game. If you have a lot of patience, and are willing work at the game and learn, then you will like this game.
Developer: Hothead Games
Platforms: XBLA, PSN