Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

PAX 10: Hands-off with the delightfully gruesome Swarm

4:20 PM on 09.06.2010 // Jordan Devore

Going into PAX Prime, I had only a vague idea of what Hothead Games' Swarm was all about. Cute blue guys, something about hilarious deaths, and the mention of Pikmin. Alright, got it! That's more than enough to grab my attention.

Hothead's director of game technology Joel DeYoung and Ignition's business development director Shane Bettenhausen gave us the rundown of this digital distribution title which draws inspiration from a few familiar concepts but executes them in an entirely different way than you'd expect.

Swarm is one of those semi-rare games that's been in development on and off for years, which can either be awesome or horrible, depending on how you look at it. Joel made it sound as if this was a "we'll get to it when we can give it everything we've got" title.

I love those types of games.

First off, those adorably dumb blue guys are called Swarmites. They are fearless creatures living on an impossibly dangerous world who just so happen to listen to your every command. How convenient! Unlike, say, Pikmin or Little King's Story, you aren't controlling a single unit here. Instead, you have direct control over 50 Swarmites.

Swarm is about getting your men to the next checkpoint while solving puzzles and avoiding traps along the way. As such, your swarm can expand, contract, use items, and even stack up like a living tower. That doesn't sound terribly interesting -- execution really is key with this game -- but the way in which the Swarmites react to one another is rather neat.

For instance, when you press the jump button, the first of your creatures begin jumping while the rest have a delayed reaction. This ends up looking like "the wave," except it's somehow more organized than what you'd find at a sporting event.

Again, nothing mind-blowing, but it was one of many smaller touches that can end up making all of the difference in the long run.

The overall goal isn't to keep the entire pack alive, necessarily -- it's to get at least one Swarmite to the next set of "blue balls." I also heard Hothead refer to them as "blue things," for what it's worth. Conrad watched the presentation with me, and throughout it he kept insisting that there was a joke hidden in there somewhere.

We never took the time to find said joke, thankfully.

Anyway, when you bump into these blue thingamajigs, your swarm count shoots back up to 50. In the hands-off demonstration I was shown, it looked like the placement was pretty smart. My impression was that Swarm will be enjoyable -- never soul-crushing -- and for those who want the extra difficulty, the tools are there to make the experience harder.

When your troops die, you aren't supposed to feel bad. Death is an inevitable reality, but because the Swarmites look identical and can be replenished, it's also temporary, so to speak.

Hothead stressed the importance of leaderboards, although nothing concrete was put on display. In our pre-demo chat with Joel, he was quick to mention Geometry Wars 2 as the definitive example of how leaderboards should be tackled. I agree wholeheartedly.

As for where you can find this title, well, there were on-screen prompts for a certain black controller designed by Sony. Even still, we were assured that Swarm is a digital distribution game pending platform(s). Oddly enough, this is more or less the norm for in-development, download-only titles.

Keep an eye out for Swarm in "early 2011." It looks incredibly promising.

Photo Gallery: (7 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Jordan Devore, Managing Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidJordan Tips
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random. Disclosure: I backed Double Fine Adventure and Awesomenauts: Starstorm on Kickst... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Parismio avatarParismio
Whelp since i got my ass kicked at snowboarding ive been issued a muscle relaxer today and slept the entire day. Time went by so fast. Is- is this what the phantom cigar is like?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What the hell is a Shantae?
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Ok you Monday morning motherfuckers, 3 favourite fictional universes you'd like to exist in (The initial iteration of the universe had to be in videogame form) Go.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just ran into my first 'suicide mole rat' in Fallout 4. I'm beginning to think this may not be a 100% accurate, meticulously researched recreation of life after the apocalypse.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Well I just played Undertale. It's a really unique game, but the difficulty in the beginning is a tad intense. Got clobbered once they started throwing three monsters at me at a time and lost a lot of progress... where's Toriel when I need her?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What should I do guys?
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
[img][/img] The Freedom Planet Indie Box, for those that were interested. And it looks like a "wild cat" is there too!
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Just 1200 words left to go on my essays. Do I deserve a day off to play Just Cause 3 once I'm done? Yes.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Elite: Dangerous has some glaring issues, and can occasionally feel kinda bare bones, but I'll be damned if it isn't one of my favorite games in recent memory. Ships are fun to fly, trading is rewarding, and the sound design is absolutely brilliant.
Archelon avatarArchelon
Well, Destructoid. I did it. I jumped ahead.
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Flawed but fun favorite game sorter. Post top 30 in the comments. [url][\url]
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
I am tired of random players. I need to enlist some help with Triforce Heroes challenges. Would anyone like to pair up with me?
El Dango avatarEl Dango
[img][/img] fun...
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Last night I had to clean projectile liqiud dogshit off of the sides of my puppies kennel. Pity me. Read my blog.
techsupport avatartechsupport
Taking a break from Fallout 4 to try out Twitch Creative. Catch me painting Chun-Li while listening to an eclectic mix of Alex G, DJ Shadow, and Modest Mouse. [img][/img]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
So far from first impressions of my Freedom Planet indie box its 100% more worth it than lootcrate. Whereas lootcrate you get a bunch of stuff you may or may not like, indie box gives you indie games, and stuff related to that game, such as the soundtrack
maycausecancer avatarmaycausecancer
When one game is rated 7.4 and another 7.6, Are you telling me one game is 0.2 worse than the other. WHAT!?!
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
I think Microsoft takes the cake for worst console updates. The XBone UI is worse and the fucking controller had an update. What the hell has gaming become?
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Well, that's a wrap for the Bloodborne DLC. I liked it. More thoughts and maybe spoilers in the comment section.
Confuseddalek avatarConfuseddalek
a rainy afternoon, and too sleepy for games. Time to go to the animal shelter and try not to fall asleep, surrounded by kittens.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -