Swarm’s engaging and memorable gameplay is driven by a unique agenda; instead of trying to protect the game’s protagonist, you’re tasked with destroying few to save many. Swarm rewards you for being inventive and aggressive, and whilst the game treads into frustrating territory because of at-times mind-numbing difficulty, it’s saved by rewarding and satisfying gameplay.
What Swarm Got Right
Rewarding Gameplay – Whilst the main objective is to collect DNA using “swarmites” to feed “Mama”, a giant blue alien organism that crashes into another alien world, the in-game score multiplayer dictates peculiar gameplay techniques in order to unlock future levels and rewards. In order to complete a level you need to return to Mama with at least one swarmite, however, as score propels your progression, collecting DNA simply isn’t enough, and so it’s important that you come up with unique and inventive ways to kill off the replenishable swarmites whilst ensuring you have enough left-over to collect DNA and make it back to Mama. This double-edged sword makes Swarm quite the challenging little gem, as you must focus on two main objectives to progress, both of which reward success with score, an integral part of progression.
Addictive Gameplay – Maintaining the balance between effective collection of DNA and efficient score-inducing killing of swarmites makes for a highly-addictive experience, part of which helps drive the fast-paced nature of the Swarm adventure. The swarmites are actually quite intelligent, often working together to ensure their own survival whilst focusing on the main objective at hand. This propels the depth and engaging nature of the experience, as you’re working with intelligent AI that blends in well with the game’s core gameplay agenda. Furthermore, the inclusion of online leaderboards and collectibles add worth to the title rather significantly, especially considering the game only takes a few hours to complete.
What Swarm Got Wrong
Quite Short – It’s such a shame that a game that looks so great and plays so well is so short. Online leaderboards and other features increase the worth alongside the main adventure, but you can’t help but feel like the experience is over well before it even begins. However, this length of adventure comes part and parcel with a small and low-priced game like this, although the superb flow of the experience would have justified a few extra hours.
Can Get Quite Difficult – Difficult is actually an understatement. As at times Swarm dictates quite a bit of attention, multitasking can be quite difficult, especially in the latter levels when you’re trying to keep an eye on the swarmites as well as obstacles in the environments. This is hardly a deal-breaker though, as Swarm is as addictive as it is frustratingly difficult, and it’s hard to pull away from its fast-paced action.
The Final Verdict
The core mechanics in Swarm are simple and engaging, and the score multiplayer and objectives make for a very frantic and at-times highly challenging experience. This puzzle/action game dictates every little bit of your attention, and it will punish you if you don’t provide it.