“Fifty of a kind beats everything” is the motto of Swarm, the new title from game creators Hothead Games. When I first heard about this game it reminded me of Lemmings, a well known game from the 80s, in which you control a set number of characters and tell them to do different things to help get the rest of the group to freedom. Swarm is a little like that, but in a completely new way, which in one main respect is great: this game has come out of nowhere. There really is nothing like it on the market at the moment.
The way you play Swarm is interesting to say the least. It’s a platform game, so there is lots of jumping and running and waiting for the right time go for that long jump, but while you’re doing all this and trying to stay alive you have to control 50 ‘Swarmites’. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well it certainly wasn’t at the start of game play, far from it in fact!
How the game works is that you have to get from the start of the level to finish. Fairly straightforward. However, in between the start and finish is an amazing amount of things to kill you (and I mean amazing). But never fear, you have numbers on your side, and trust me you need them because while you’re trying to stay alive you also have to collect things for mommy which look like DNA strands and molecules. You do, however, have some fancy tricks of your own. My personal favourite is the Swarmite Ladder, where you use the right trigger to pull all your blue friends together then tap the A button which tells them to start climbing on top of each other until you have a Swarmite Pyramid. Unfortunately they don’t stay up there for long, if you start to move then they start jumping down. The frantic gameplay does not end there, oh no! Whilst all this is going on, you also have to be fast because the more of the DNA you collect the more your points multiplier goes up, but as soon as you stop collecting the time ticks down. When the timer hits zero the score is calculated and awarded, then you have to start all over again getting that multiplier back up. A little too frustrating at times but extremely addictive!
Making quick decisions is the name of the game, but sometimes it can cost you the game. You need to meet a specific score to move onto the next level, so if you’re speeding through the level and you think ‘I can leave those few’ be prepared that when you reach the end you could be about 500 points off what you need to achieve the next level, and believe you me, you will kick yourself, I know I did… several times.
Just one last thing, while you’re doing all of this remember to keep an eye on your Swarmites, like I said above you have 50 Swarmites and sometimes you have to sacrifice a few to keep going, but never fear – mother provides new egg sacks along the way to keep your numbers high.
The graphics of the game are what you would expect from an Xbox arcade title. There is some great use of colour and also light and shadows that make some levels look amazing. You can expect this graphical genius to continue in the menus as well, there has been a great deal of attention to detail in this game, and I was very impressed by the look of it all.
If you are looking for a game that really is like nothing you have ever played before, then Swarm is definitely one for you to try. With its fast paced and hectic game play it will keep you coming back for more even when the frustration kicks in. Which is just as well really, as you may find yourself needing to switch off for a while to prevent your controller from being hurled at the cat. It’s almost enough to put you off.
But all in all it’s a great game for both kids and adults and worth spending your 1200 MS Points on.