Swarm Universe PC Review

Swarm Universe I won’t lie frustrated me to begin with, but the more time I spent with it, it was, as Donkey said in Shrek, like an onion. No, it didn’t make me cry. It had layers. Once those layers became apparent I enjoyed the game far more than I thought I would. I do have issues with the game though, some superficial, some deeper than that. Overall, what do I think though? Read on…

Controls

Simply put… don’t use the keyboard. You can, but I don’t advise it. Use a control pad. Eight way controls via keyboard *suck* in this game. You want an analogue stick. Then, to control your swarm ‘flail’, and to control your dashing in 360 degree directions, you’ll want that free movement. So yes, use a controller. Technically keyboard WILL work, and you CAN play it that way, but you really are hobbling yourself doing so and missing out. Swarm Universe definitely asks you to use a controller. Don’t be an elitist and say ‘but mouse and keyboard are always better’, because you don’t use mouse here, you just use keyboard and that can’t match the fine control of an analogue stick, sorry 😊

Gameplay

You want the absolute truth? Within 5 minutes of starting the tutorial, I was ready to turn this game off as it honestly felt like it just dragged on… and on… and on. It wasn’t a great first impression. Now, the tutorial IS thorough, it goes through everything you’re going to need to do, but it does so at a snail’s pace. You can at least skip the dialogue, now, with a gamepad that’s as simple as pressing fire. On the pc? Pressing either of your allocated fire buttons doesn’t work, and I didn’t realise this at first, it wasn’t for a while that I figured out I had to press Enter to skip dialogue *SIGH* an onscreen indicator would’ve been nice. I don’t normally advocate skipping tutorials, but you’re going to want to skip this one at some point when you realise how long it goes on for. As it stands, each ‘control function’ is divided up into its own stage to merely artificially extend the duration of the game. There had to be a better way to do your tutorial guys, it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen, but this could have been streamlined to a third the time you’ve used here, as it stands, it’s not good.

Once you get into the game itself, it’s not too bad, basically it’s like playing Geometry wars, top down you’ll move your avatar around dodging swarms of enemies as they propel themselves at you. Instead of just shooting in a particular direction though, you have to slingshot your bullets at the enemy, or swing them around yourself as a shield. It’s neat for a while, and it’s a pretty cool concept that will get you through a few stages with high interest. But that interest soon fades to be quite frank. I’ll again be honest, it gets a little boring in single player after a while. Thankfully Multiplayer, as always, rescues the experience and makes it a bit more fun. I highly recommend playing Multiplayer over single player, you’ll have a much better time.

Levels vary from ‘get from point A to point B’, to ‘blast the crap out of everything you see’. The latter prove the most challenging, the former proves the most interesting. It’s a mixed bag with both, but neither are executed poorly, infect the combat sections prove quite hectic and can get quite addictive? As difficulty ramps up you find the true value in the game, as it slowly turns from a game of yawns into an absolute game of skill, testing your reflexes and abilities. The sad part is, it does take a little bit of time to get there, but when it does get there? Damn it’s solid, like, really, really solid. It just takes a *little* too long getting to that point…

Graphics

Vector based graphics make up the primary look of the game, with some neat 3d designs making up the background. Everything moves smoothly and the wide variety of colour is very pleasant to look at. The constant swirling of movement with the enemies and your avatar, the variety of motion, makes it quite delightful to watch. There’s also a ‘Tron’ like quality to the game.

Sound

The music is quite pleasant, coming across as some sort of Daft Punk light construction. It’s possibly the best part of the game. Seeing as the combat element of the game can get quite addictive, that’s a bit of a compliment too. The game has a definite TRON inspiration going on, so the music only adds to that if you cast your memories back to the movie Tron Legacy (I enjoyed it, suck it) and remember the fantastic soundtrack Daft Punk composed for that.

Value

At $14.99 I really can’t say I’d pay any higher. I think it’s priced about right. If you find it on sale, bargain! But I think for this price, it’s worth picking up and you’ll find value. There’s more than enough levels in this game to justify the purchase, I promise and longevity in multiplayer.

Conclusion

All in all not a bad game, a little rough around the edges in a few areas, namely pacing, but the production values are excellent, the graphics well done, controls flow well on a control pad (keyboard… just don’t cripple yourself people), music is excellent and priced fairly. Swarm Universe is worth your time, so check it out!

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Pro’s:

  • Excellent music
  • Good controller functionality
  • Simple but great graphics
  • Excellent atmosphere

Cons:

  • Pacing is a little off
  • The tutorial. Oh god the tutorial. Skip it with ENTER. It doesn’t tell you. Just skip through it and get the important bits.
  • Keyboard controls

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