Drone Swarm (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 30.12.2020

Review for Drone Swarm on PC

Sci-fi strategy games often have a very narrow style to their gameplay; typically players will control a fledgling empire as they build more ships, explore, tech up and eventually conquer the galaxy. Drone Swarm plays it differently, in that players control a single ship (along with its titular drone swarm) as they travel through pre-set paths trying to find a new Earth to call home after the planet was killed off.

Drone Swarm starts off with a pretty cool idea: a huge alien force comes to the Earth and kills nearly everyone off (RIP to the cartoon dog in the beginning) but humanity has some level of psychics who somehow figure out how to control them, and off they go. There is an alien ship along with its 32,000 drones they now warp through space trying to find a new home to set up on.

The story, while starting high, leaves a somewhat bad taste in the mouth with how many plot holes there are. Why were humans psychic? Where did this alien ship even come from? How come no one thinks twice about how weird it is they now have this mothership using warp drive across the galaxy? Despite the very novel premise, the story doesn't really go anyway and somewhat flounders around. There was tremendous potential for grief, sorrow, regret, question or any of these emotions that do not get touched on.

Gameplay is very linear in that players pick the next spot on a map, get a little story, fight a short battle, then move on. One of the strengths in a way of the game is that its focus is narrow and feels far more coherent than if their sights were set too high. Each step along the way, players will see if the planet is habitable (of course, it won't be) then a fight proceeds using the ship and drones, then back to the map to move on.

Screenshot for Drone Swarm on PC

Initially, the idea of having this sole ship and drone horde was pretty interesting. Combat is the main portion of the game, and players fight the enemy by 'drawing' paths for the drones. At the start drones have either the 'defend' or 'attack' command. Selecting 'defend' players use their mouse and draw a path on the screen that the drones fly out towards, erecting a wall to stop projectiles. 'Attack' in contrast sets them on a damaging pathway following the line of attack. The idea is that the player draws various paths and lines through enemy ships damaging them with the drones.

It was a pretty novel idea, but the longer the game goes on, the less interesting it is. One of the largest issues is the drones simply move far too slow, do too little damage, and the enemy ships move too fast. Far too often a line will be drawn and the enemy ship simply moves a little and that entire attack misses. Further, the game is horrendously optimized, often maxing out its load on the computer as the game goes on. The ships move too fast for how slow the drones respond, it becomes a type of trying to guess where they will be, far less fun than actually reacting. Combined with the player's ship being able to get killed in seconds, this all serves to take some fun away.

In the end it has some good ideas. The premise and plan go along good enough. The issues are that how fast combat goes, its lag problems and very little change in how the game plays as its progresses. With some simple changes and overhauls it could actually be pretty good. The frequent crashes though is always a killer for games.

Screenshot for Drone Swarm on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Appreciating the narrow focus on the game they sought to deliver was one of the better points of the experience. By stripping away a lot of excess systems it allowed a better core experience. The issues are bad optimization that leads to heavy lag and frequent crashes. Additionally the gameplay is too fast for the 'art' style of attacking to truly be effective resulting in a major loss of what was the initial draw of the game to begin with.

Developer

Stillalive

Publisher

Astragon

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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