Quantity over quality.
After years of near-endless mocking due to lack of 3rd party support, the Nintendo Switch eShop has been flooded with titles varying in quality. Those old enough to remember the Nintendo’s lockout chip on the original NES are now old enough to appreciate that level of quality control. Unfortunately, that same level of control has evaporated and in its place, we get titles like Swarmriders.
The setup is quite simple, how long can you ride your motorcycle while you blast the ever-increasing horde behind… well all around you. To its credit (there won’t be a lot given) the concept while not new is one that can be fun. Initial runs do leave you with that “one more” time feel. This quickly dissolves, however, as you quickly realise the game has nothing else to offer. No story, no upgrades, no online leaderboards, nothing.
Control-wise Swarmriders is adequate.
A twin-stick shooter that literally only requires your thumbsticks to play is hard to mess up. Navigation is handled with the Left stick while aiming is mapped to the Right. Shooting is on autofire so there is nothing else here for you to concern yourself with. You won’t have the time either. The swarm attack in relentless waves from directly behind you and then begin to fly in from all sides of the screen to divert your attention.
Visually the game is competent at best and a cloudy disaster at worst.
The invading swarm is a neverending supply of the same dull enemy type speeding towards you. Each victim of your blasting explodes into a cloud which at a distance is a cool effect but makes the game near unplayable as the enemies explode near you. The screen including your character disappears behind the veil of smoke allowing more untouched enemies to quickly hit you.
Audio-wise, Swarmriders is good. The industrial-tinged soundtrack is a perfect complement to the on-screen action. The generic sound effects do little to enhance or distract and ultimately get lost behind the booming soundtrack. I made that up. There are no sound effects just the backing score. The lack of any type of options hinders any thoughts of balancing the sound out to see what truly lies beneath. Ape Out did a fantastic job with its dynamic living soundtrack. Swarmriders really missed an opportunity to incorporate something like that here with the amount of chaos that occurs.
On the whole, Swarmriders is the epitome of shovelware. Nothing that has been produced is new, refined, or engaging on any level. In reality, this serves as an unfriendly reminder that Nintendo was not wrong by protecting their consoles in the past. Titles like this have no place on a console. A lot of the shortcomings would be forgivable if it had started out as a mobile title, but without even that, there is nothing here to recommend.
Review code provided
Platform: Steam, Nintendo
Release Date: 30/06/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Action, Arcade
Developer: QUByte Interactive
Publisher: QUByte Interactive
Download link: eShop