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Inside PlayStation Network - Swarm

25 March 2011

The digital delights of Sony’s scrumptious PlayStation Network service know no bounds. Aside from letting punters compete in online gaming, stream films, browse the Internet and more, its premier attraction rests in the copious supply of downloadable games ripe for the picking. From PSN exclusives to PSOne Classics, minis and plain old add-on content, Sony’s online space is chock full of goodies battling it out for your hard-earned digital dollars.

Welcome back to another installment of Inside PlayStation Network, where every Monday – Friday we’ll pluck a PSN release—be it new or old—and put it in the spotlight for a thorough dissection. Fancy getting a new PSN game but don’t know what one to plump for? Perhaps this feature will help. Didn’t realize that a game was available in your region until now? We've got you covered. Or, perhaps you were musing over what those lucky Japanese folk were tucking into over in the Land of the Rising Sun? You can be sure our coverage will extend to those rare regional exclusives as much as those firmly embedded on the public consciousness.

Today’s entry sees us bundling up with a bunch of blue critters in the Hothead Games outing, Swarm.


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Developer: Hothead Games
Region(s) available: North America
Players: 1

Anyone remember Overlord? Yes? Well, on the surface, Swarm shares a lot of superficial similarities with Codemasters’ lauded command-em-up. However, whereas Overlord had you barking out orders at a legion of loyal minions to carry out your thirst for slaughter, Swarm's death-dealing antics are a little closer to home. Here, players control heap of 50 blue, bug-eyed chaps known as swarmites, who after a crash landing find themselves lumbered on a sprawling, hostile planet. At the wish of their queen, the swarmites must embark on a gruelling quest to scoop up as many DNA strands throughout the land as possible, all the while raking in a meaty score to progress to the next stage.

The catch is, however, that you'll actually have to go about bumping off members of your alien race in order to get the job done. Yep, to score big, you’re going to have to sacrifice some of the blue critters for the greater good. Fortunately (or unfortunately, in the swarmite’s case) there are ample opportunities to do so, as the planet is chock full of hazards. Chief among the perils you’ll encounter are hungry beasts that won’t hesitate to gobble up the poor sods, as well as environmental death-dealers such as boulders, laser trip mines, lava pits and more. Needless to say, there’s a lot of sadistic pleasure to be had by clapping eyes on the myriad of swarmite deaths on offer, an element that Hothead has embraced with full force.

Still, it’s probably worth remembering not to write off everyone in your group – at least one of the poor buggers must survive in order to ensure you complete the level successfully. Fresh swarmites can be added to your pack at various intervals, and there’s a perennial undercurrent of fine-tuning your performance to ensure you bag the highest score possible, while also making sure you don’t suffer too many casualties. The pint-sized critters will work as a collective to help their through each stage, and can employ a number of different manoeuvres to aid in their progression. These include snuggling up together for a health/stamina boost, as well as bundling on top of each other allowing you to reach previously-inaccessible territory.

As you’d expect from a title where your primary goal is to send your score rocketing through the stratosphere, Swarm naturally comes equipped with online leaderboard functionality. Note you’ll likely need to possess a fine degree of patience in order to plunder the highest rafters of the leaderboard, as it’s an arduous slog of trial-and-error in order to bag that mega score.

That’s your lot for this week. Join us again on Monday for another peak Inside PlayStation Network.


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