Thursday, July 21, 2011

Swarm Review

XBLA is an early form of the incredibly successful App Store platform now deployed by Apple and their many impersonators. Some of the most rewarding Apps I download for my iPhone aren't the big titles that are released by Electronic Arts or Gameloft, but instead it is those smaller games which catch your eye and suck you in despite fighting for a minority of users. Swarm is one of these such hidden gems that is found on XBLA under the promotion of titles such as Trials HD and games featured in Microsoft's Summer of Arcade promotion.

Swarm is a simple game that is easy to load up but hard to turn off. With cute graphics and online leaderboards, the process of keeping your 'Swarmites' alive is made into a fun game. This game is one you may not have heard of before, but make sure you take notice of it now!


The distinct art style in Swarm is one that will get you sucked into the game. Your swarmites are cute little blue creatures that you are moving through a variety of areas, avoiding obstacles that come your way. These linear paths are dark and resonate evil, yet manage to make you feel welcomed and inquisitive enough to keep leaping and scattering your swarmites through to the finish line. The hazardous style of this game has allowed the developers to create an unique atmosphere in which moving platforms, enemies and even random bursts of fire flourish. The dark setting is handy for when you are down to only a few swarmites left and it gets hard to see their little bodies on the screen as you try to make it to the next checkpoint.

The music sets the scene for the suicidal mission your swarmites are embarking on. The dark tone is often coupled with the squeals of death as one of your swarmites if killed off, or was it sacrificed? The whole package is put together nicely with an awesome levels screen that is inspired by the world you are about to enter. This is a slick game that looks great for an arcade title and is sure to appeal to young and old gamers.


Your courageous, fearless swarmites will be thrown the short straw as you force a group of 50 along a small path to the end of the level. Along the way many obstacles will appear and you need to have the realization that not every swarmite is going to make it out alive. You are going to have casualities and many of them, but don't worry as regular checkpoints and swarmite regeneration stations will make your job a lot easier. Swarm is essentially a 2D platformer in a 3D world and at its basics requires you to jump and run your way to the end. The intuitive controls add to the strategy of how you do this as you must navigate the swarmites past a whole array of challenges. Instead of the basic commands such as run and jump, swarmites can be spread out or closed in for tight paths as just one example of the different controls used in this game.

The game isn't overly tough due to the fact that there are regular checkpoints, but competing against your friends for the highest score and fastest time possible on the leaderboards will add an area of perfection to this game. The real joy of Swarm for most won't necessarily be finishing the game, but instead killing those hapless swarmites. There are medals to collect for killing off swarmites in different ways and you will often find yourself trying new and original ideas to collect just one more death medal. While there are two boss levels to mix it up a bit, the majority of the game is all the same and if you don't like it from the first few levels you certainly won't enjoy it by the time you reach the finish.


Swarm is a game that has probably gone under your radar until now. The simple style of Swarm coupled with it's addictive nature makes it one of the best titles you will find on the App Store to date. Dieing has never been more fun and your cute little swarmites take it to another level. For only 800 microsoft points this is a pretty good deal compared to others at the same price point. If platformers interest you then this is definitely a title to go and check out!

Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Overall - 8.5/10