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Swarm Review

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Downloader, not Michael Caine B-movie

★★★★

Much like Nintendo’s cutesy Pikmin or the puzzle classic Lemmings as imagined by a sadist with a deliciously twisted sense of humour, Swarm is a dream download.

Challenging players to guide 50 gurning blobs through a series of devilishly dangerous worlds, the twist comes in Swarm’s ingenious scoring system. To earn enough points to unlock the next level, players must collect glowing orbs as they dodge danger. As the score multiplier resets if you wait too long, gamers are forced earn extra points by intentionally killing their critters in deeply despicable ways: including burning, choking, chopping, chomping or just plain skewering.

Naturally, sacrificing too many of your creatures can also be a disaster, as at least one must make it to the end of the level. This in turn creates a panic-inducing, deeply unsettling balance that must be carefully maintained throughout each level, and it's guaranteed to have your heart thumping in your chest when you reach the later levels.

Brutally difficult stages and a sense that it's all over too soon means that Swarm narrowly misses out on a top score. But with fabulously addictive action that will keep you coming back for more, online leaderboards where you can brag about your best performances, and a perfectly pitched learning curve that gently ramps up the levels of stress, it's a sick, sick treat and a download that should be cherished.

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