Only your imagination set boundaries on how to kill these small, blue and cuddly things, called swarmites. Now, your job is to get through the levels as fast as you can, while gathering as many points as you can.
Swarming is the definition of a collective behaviour of small insects or animals, a definition that Hothead Games have based the gameplay around in this charming XBLA title. In Swarm you control a swarm of little blue two-legged creatures called swarmites, moving around in unity with the collective goal of finding DNA strands for their “momma”, to help her grow.
Quirky and fun
There’s no story per se, so I will focus on gameplay and the funny quirks. To summarize, you have to get these cuddly mini aliens from point A to point B, but beware! The levels are filled with traps, fire, toxins, big exploding bugs, lava and not to mention; gaping, horrific abysses.
The essential part of the gameplay is maintaining a high enough multiplier to reach the goal with enough points to unlock the next level. That means you have to move pretty quick through the level, collecting strands of DNA and surviving with at least one of your swarmites. You are also rewarded with keeping your multiplier every time you lose a swarmite. But be careful not to lose your last swarmite, because then you fail and you’ll lose your multiplier and the points from last time your multiplier ran out.
Also, certain “buttons” requires a certain amount of swarmites to stand on, before you’ll be able to activate it. When you have reached the end of the level and are suck back up into mommy, there’s a time award awaiting – I got a 4.5 time bonus in a level, which multiplied my score with that, and suffice to say, that was my top score in that level.
Sounds and graphic is not something I would go haywire about. It’s above mediocre, a lot is happening on the screen at once, and the game doesn’t make a cough over this. Soundtrack is decent and suitable, nothing less, nothing more. Only issue I did experience was that the game totally froze my machine a couple times – a word of advice; in the level select screen, let the leaderboards load before jumping to next level, and you’ll avoid freezing. The developer is aware of the problem and we know they’re working with Microsoft on it as I’m writing this.
Cute and challenging
Swarm is heartbreakingly cute, luckily enough the camera doesn’t go closeup with the swarmites while you are playing, so don’t worry about messing up the game because you get blurry vision from tears. The game focus on keeping your head cool, and keep the swarmites alive while running through the dangerous levels.
It’s a little fun puzzler for the easy minded, yet still a challenge for braniacs, as they can chose to go for the top score on the leaderboards. So far, over 64 swarmites has been harmed, killed and molested in unthinkable ways; check out the counter on the official website for current numbers.