Swarm Xbox 360 Review

April 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Xbox 360, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher – Ignition Entertainment – Developer – Hothead Games – Genre – Platformer – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3

Some games are so simple in their concepts that adding in any complexity could ruin them, skewering the original vision of the developer in the process. Hothead Games’ Swarm is definitely a game that is simple in both vision and concept, in which keeping alive a swarm of aliens and killing the odd one off to help out is as complex as it gets.

The very simple idea that powers Swarm is that you take control of a batch of 50 Swarmites (blue alien creatures) and your objective is to reach the end of the level with as many as the little aliens left alive as possible. But, what’s certain is that sacrifices will be made as you go in search for the required score to unlock the next level.

As the screen suggests, you can indeed stack the Swarmites. You can also spread them out and propel them forward with a speed boost.

Indeed, you may lose a few of the poor creatures as you jump, avoid obstacles and the like, but some can also be cruelly sacrificed, all in a bid to make some progress and keep the score multiplier running and rising. Luckily, lost Swarmites can be replenished at certain points in the levels, which is all well and good as losing all 50 results in being forced back to the last checkpoint.

Swarm is all about achieving scores. A score multiplier fills up when you pick up glowing orbs dotted all over each level, with potential for huge chains. It’s certainly hugely satisfying to score big by stringing various things together such as walking over the orbs as well as murdering one or two of your innocent Swarmites.

But Swarm is a game that will test the patience of many. You’ll need to reach or better a specific score to unlock the next level, and, without a near perfect run, some of these targets are pretty difficult to meet, particularly from the fourth level and onwards. Some players will find themselves throwing in the towel prematurely, or their pad into the TV. Then again, others will revel in accumulating massive chains, finishing off with a gigantic total to be posted on to the leaderboards.

Perhaps the game is a little too based around scoring points for its own good. Don’t get me wrong I love achieving big scores, but, being that most failures may as well automatically restart the level as opposed to starting from the previous checkpoint due to the ”points are king” nature of the game, checkpoints are frequently rendered pointless.

Controlling the swarm is simple, being that they move as one when bunched together.

More positively, there may only be 10 levels but the scoring system makes it very re-playable and achieving all the Death Medals by killing off swarmites in various ways, also makes the game worth revisiting. The latter may sound morbid, but Swarm is hardly a game that is supposed to be taken seriously.

All in all, Swarm is a game that is very satisfying and hard to dislike for any great length of time. It certainly has its downers, but its black humour and the drive to score big are two things that make the game well worth a look. Just be prepared for a test of your patience, this is not a game that politely welcomes you with a swarm of open arms.