You have to give SWARM! credit for being daring. This game dares to be unoriginal in this new age of pioneering digital content. It also dares to have graphics that make Nintendo 64 games look cutting edge.
SWARM! has a premise thinner than tissue paper, involving the speedball Hot Rod, who inadvertently becomes public enemy number one of the Ball-timore Police. As a result, Hot Rod spends each level rolling around, dodging or defeating the cops and collecting coins.
SWARM! gives you two options of play. By default, you play using tilt controls to steer Hot Rod around the level. You also have the option of using “touch controls.” The touch controls involve placing a finger in front of Hot Rod’s path to start him in the right direction. Since your finger has to always be in front of your character, you will spend the majority of the level looking around your finger for the next obstacle.
The levels themselves are brightly-colored mazes resembling polygonal cityscapes, sewers, and other uninspiring locales of Ball-timore. While your goal is to reach the end of the level, you will have road blocks along the way. For instance, you may have to defeat several cop robots before moving on.
SWARM! also has boss battles and combat that are relatively difficult and frustrating. Combat often involves luring your enemies into an electrified fence or pit. While this sounds entertaining, it quickly becomes monotonous. You’ll have to race towards the electrified area, with your enemies following close behind, and then jump over the pit or fence to lead your enemies to their doom.
While playing, you earn in-game money for use in the Store. At the moment, the Store only features new skins for Hot Rod. You can dress Hot Rod up as an enemy robot, a kitty cat, and even a sumo wrestler. All of these, of course, look as outdated as the rest of the game.
Although it comes from an era of pocket and tablet computers, SWARM! would look more at home on technology from 15 years ago. There’s no originality to be found here, and the game simply doesn’t compare to the heavy-hitters of the App Store.