Swarm is an unusual game, just because of the sheer number of creatures the player controls. Games like Final Fantasy let you take control of a party of players, but Swarm outdoes such paltry numbers by giving the player control of 50 tiny, blue swarmites at once. You then have to navigate your swarm through levels full of traps and dangers, in order to get your swarm safely to the end of the level.

Sounds a bit like Lemmings, right? Well, no, not really. In Swarm there is no limit to the number of swarmites you must get to the end of the level, as even one left will do. What you do need by the end of each level is a fixed number of points, and very often points can be easily earned by sacrificing part of your swarm by smashing them into exploding items or deliberately running them into traps. Lose too many and everything is not lost, as you’ll find respawn points which swell your numbers back to the magic 50 at points throughout the level. This mechanic leads to a virtual tightrope walk through the levels. Be too protective of your swarm and you’ll finish with a large number of swarmites, and a small number of points. Go too gung ho and you’ll lose your entire swarm and have to start again from a checkpoint, and lose your multiplier.

Ah, the multiplier. It quickly became obvious to me (in Level 3!) that if you don’t pay attention to your multiplier you’ll never do really well at the game. And I’m not talking “top of the leaderboards” really well, I’m talking “even passing the level” really well. The multiplier works on a timer, so you have to collect more points before the timer expires to keep the multiplier up. It really is key, too. On level 3 I think I ended up finishing with something like a 17x multiplier just to achieve the minimum score that Momma (the swarmites’ solitary parental figure) requires.

Swarm isn’t an easy game, and I think the difficulty factor may divide audiences. Level 3 took me a lot of attempts to reach the minimum score, and then suddenly I nailed it and finished the level with twice the score I’d failed to achieve over and over again. It’s very much a “one more go” kind of game, some would get frustrated quickly but others who like a challenge would refuse to let it beat them. Also, if you have other friends playing it, it could be quite easy to get into a leaderboards battle for high scores.







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