- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 15th Mar 2011
Swarm was one of the surprises of PAX East 2011, a game that by its description sounds a lot less interesting and fun than it actually is.
The star of the game is the 50 fearless Swarmites that the player directly controls -- a lemming-like group whose only power is to work together to attain their goals, and die. And they die a lot, because game play means pushing them into and through through gauntlets of death and destruction in an attempt to collect valuable DNA and ensure that at least one Swarmite survives.
According to one of the presenters at PAX East getting them through a level without losing any is not possible -- the development team actually tried - a lot -- and was never able to do it -- so don't feel bad when you kill off a few trying to complete the goal for a level, you can get more.
At the start of each level you control a group of 50 characters known as swarmites who operate as a collective to achieve their goals, among which are collecting DNA strands, and getting past environmental barriers like explosions, bridges, and acid pools.
Throughout each level in the game there are health packs which will restore the ranks of your fearless crew back to 50, and each level also contains a checkpoint save spot so that when -- not if -- you eventually wipe them all out, you don't have to restart at the beginning.
The trick to controlling your Swarm is conformity -- once you get one doing what you want it to do, the others nearby will follow its example -- which is important as at various points you will need them to act collectively either to accomplish a goal or, more often, configure themselves to survive a specific threat.
This is a highly addictive game that constantly challenges you to conserve as many of your Swarm as you can, while pushing them to reach their goals -- objectives that are often mutually exclusive.
Something you just have to accept as you play the game is that Swarmites die its what they do but bonus! You gain points in the process. Swarm will be released on PSN March 22nd, and on Xbox Live Arcade on March 23rd, after which the little blue fellas are going to die by the millions.
Official Title: Swarm
Developing Studio: Hothead Games
Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
Release Date: March 22nd PSN / March 23rd XBLA
Platforms: XBox 360 and PS3