REVIEW: ‘Swimsantiy!’ is Fun, When it Lets You Play (Xbox One)

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Swimsanity

Swimsanity! is a twin stick action shooter for one to four players in vs or coop modes, developed and published by Decoy Games LLC. Playing as one of four color coded divers players take to the waters for frantic shooter action. With numerous power ups and a selection of super abilities to unlock, Swimsanity offers a variety of exciting challenges. You just have to get through the many roadblocks in the way of actually playing the game to enjoy them.

Having seen a couple different game demos leading up to launch, I was interested to see what this game might have to offer that would set it apart from other frantic party games. With several different modes, and numerous levels within each to play, this game offers a fair amount of variety. Though, fair warning, it is also significantly harder than I expected going in.

When my friend and I booted up Swimsanity’s coop mode I expected a fun, and hectic shooting experience. And that was what the game delivered, while I was alive to play it. Players are given limited health at the start of each level. And it doesn’t take much to drain it. That, along with a plethora of different enemy types and attacks to get accustomed to, combined for a lot of quick deaths. Eventually, I got my flippers under me and managed to hang in there. The learning curve is by no means unbearable, just more than I was expecting from the bright animated visuals.

The coop modes in Swimsanity brake down into two groups. Adventure, and survival. During adventure mode the players must swim through the level avoiding obstacles and enemies while being pursued by a threat they must escape. The threat varied depending on which adventure players are pursuing. In one a giant whale is ever present driving the players forward. In another, a large eel-like creature will dash out from various points on the screen’s edge, forcing players to keep their eyes peeled.

Swimsanity

While adventure mode keeps players constantly moving, survival mode is a single screen horde type mode. Players must survive wave after wave of enemies while making sure not to run out of time. After every wave is completed, the timer refreshes. Forcing players to push themselves into taking risks to complete the waves fast enough.  Survival mode also had an added bonus over the other modes we played. It was the only one with a retry option.

For every minute my party got to play Swimsanity it felt like we were spending three getting set up to play. This was due to the fact that, with the exception of survival mode, every time we finished a game we were booted back to the main menu, and our party was broken up. Invites had to be resent, the match had to be set up, and then we got to play again. This is especially frustrating given the steep learning curve I experienced early in my play time. Once or twice I died within 30 seconds of game start. With all the hassle of getting a new online game started it created a huge disincentive to play. Had I not been playing for review, I would’ve quit rather quickly.

What was even worse came when the game eventually stopped letting us party up altogether. After a half dozen times hitting an unending “joining party” screen I finally called it quits. The game has potential, but there are some significant hurdles to fulfilling it.

You also may haven’t noticed I have talked about Swimsanity!’s vs mode. That because I don’t really feel like I can. During my time with the game I was only able to get a match with my one friend I was on with. Every time we tried to matchmake with others we got dropped into a 1v1 game against each other. And that is clearly not how the multiplayer was intended to be played.

So while Swimsanity shows promise in its level and mode design, it has significant hurdles to getting to enjoy them. Wasting time bouncing in and out of parties, coupled with struggles to find matches leave me feeling like their are better, less hassle filled options to play games with my friends.

Swimsanity is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS.

Swimsanity
  • 5/10
    Rating - 5/10
5/10

TL;DR

So while Swimsanity shows promise in its level and mode design, it has significant hurdles to getting to enjoy them. Wasting time bouncing in and out of parties, coupled with struggles to find matches leave me feeling like their are better, less hassle filled options to play games with my friends.