Swarm Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Swarm Box Art
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Dev: Hothead Games
Pub: Ignition Entertainment
Release: March 22, 2011
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Animated Blood, Cartoon Violence

The swarmites themselves act as a flawed solitary unit, and can be made to disperse or huddle together, create living ladders, run, jump, and throw in unison. Considering how messy this could have been, Hothead handles your swarmite group admirably, and with a significantly realistic sensibility in terms of what happens when one or multiple swarmites fall behind. Though they move in a relatively small space when consolidated, you can lose half your horde easily by mistiming a jump, moving too quickly through a timed trap, or simply not being mindful of a particularly precarious edge. Thankfully, organic cluster points that resupply your mass are frequent, though it'll still take a deft hand in order to activate some of the motherload DNA bonuses, which require a certain number of swarmites to use, scattered throughout each level.

Swarm Screenshot

Swarm is more of a platformer than an all-out strategy game, but you do need to be mindful of how carefully you get through each area of a level if you want to max out your points. The gameplay becomes that much more interesting once you realize that after initiating DNA pick up, the game become a mad dash to its end. The more DNA you collect, the higher your score multiplier becomes, and before long the timed nature of your combo multiplayer makes it necessary to string together long chains of actions as you frantically overcome trap after trap within any given level.

Things get particularly stressful in the later levels, when you have to balance swarmite deaths from, say, bashing DNA-containing boxes, while simultaneously spacing actions out enough to keep your multiplier going while also navigating the traps in the ever-more perilous level layouts. You can also send swarmites to do their doom in a pinch to give the clock on your multiplier an extra boost, although the deeper into the game you get, the less useful this tactic seems to be. Needless to say, blindly running through an environment, which the game often forces you to do, means you're going to have to replay most levels multiple times in order to get a good enough score to move on. This can be trying sometimes, but with the game's pacing and the sheer number of points you can get if you're good, it quickly becomes an addictive challenge.

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Swarm probably won't appeal to everyone, but it's a good example of the kind of indie design sensibility that can really flourish in a smaller market where development risks aren't as much of an issue. The $15 asking price is a little steep, considering you can beat the game in a handful of hours, but despite its brevity, Swarm is a very original and entertaining little game that I would encourage platform fans—especially those liable to laugh at the game's black comedic tone—to pick up.

By Steve Haske
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.3
Graphics
Swarm has high production values for an indie downloadable title, and its cartoonishly grotesque art style is delightful.
4.0
Control
Controlling a mass of swarmites as a single unit actually works pretty well, although your fingers may get a little sore from jamming on the right trigger.
3.8
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Sound is somewhat minimal, but Swarm's soundtrack is as good as it is appropriately paired with its twisted aesthetic.
4.0
Play Value
Swarm's bizarre take on platforming is a great, addictive challenge, but this strange journey is over too quickly. Here's hoping for some DLC.
4.2
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Navigate your army of swarmites through a twisted, treacherous world in this unique platformer
  • Sacrifice swarmites to maintain your combo multiplier in a race against the clock
  • Compare scores with your friends via leaderboards

  • Screenshots / Images
    Swarm Screenshot - click to enlarge Swarm Screenshot - click to enlarge Swarm Screenshot - click to enlarge Swarm Screenshot - click to enlarge Swarm Screenshot - click to enlarge Swarm Screenshot - click to enlarge Swarm Screenshot - click to enlarge Swarm Screenshot - click to enlarge Swarm Screenshot - click to enlarge Swarm Screenshot - click to enlarge

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