Swarm 2

Developer / Publisher – Greensky Games
Price – US $24.99 / CAN 29.99 / EU €24.99 / UK £19.99
Release Date – March 7th, 2024
Input – 2 x Motion Controllers
Play Area –  Seated, Standing, Roomscale
Store Links – Meta
Reviewed on – Quest 3

I really enjoyed the 1st Swarm game for the simple fact that it combined gunplay with aerial acrobatics like no other game had really done before.  It wasn’t perfect but offered up an enjoyable story and action-packed campaign.  With this sequel, gone is the stage-by-stage campaign as in its place is now a Roguelike series of randomly generated stages (18 in total) that take you to various locales around the world.  For those into the genre, the game structure here is very similar to Until You Fall with all those Roguelike elements at play to ensure that no matter how good or bad you are at the game, play enough and you’ll have the upgrades needed to blast through the story.

Soar through a variety of locales!

As the last surviving Grapple Commando, it’s up to you head back down to Earth to take on the invading machines.  I’m not sure if the story explained how you can respawn upon death, but regardless, you do and upon each go you collect shards found in each map or left by enemies that can be spent on permanent upgrades in between attempts.  Each stage completed also gives you a choice of buffs for that run and the more you play the more additional weapon and power-up options unlock ensuring that each new run isn’t quite the same as the last.  It’s a traditional roguelike in every sense of the term with the added bonus of a story that unfolds the further you get though if that’s what excites you, I’d temper that a bit as the tale told is fairly bare bones…just like the 1st game.

So, as I tend to go into games I review blind, I was initially surprised and a little let down by this sequels direction as I typically don’t enjoy the roguelike grind and for my 1st few runs, I struggled with not just the games loop, but the gameplay itself as I found the controls to quite awkward.  An opening tutorial teaches you the basics before your off with you being able to latch onto any part of the environment or the foes you face.  Momentum and speed are key and slowing down for even a few seconds is a recipe for disaster as enemies will home in and take you out quickly should you move too slow.  It’s not just Spider-man swinging and pulling as you can also dash in any direction to help build or slow momentum or even use a dash attack on any foe that has you quickly bash into them.  It’s the chaining of all those abilities that allowed me to naturally keep moving and once I started focusing on using my direction and tethering to its fullest did I begin to enjoy the game.  Basically, the learning curve isn’t too steep but does make those first runs quite frustrating, especially in combination with the lack up upgrades, but if you stick with it, things should improve…at least until some of the later levels which are less tall and more crowded creating plenty of obstacles to careen into if you aren’t careful.

Never stop moving!

I think my 4th or maybe 5th attempt is where I started to find my groove and the game started to open up thanks to not just progressing through each stage but also collecting those shards. That allowed for permanent increases in health, shields, retries, rerolls for run upgrades along with additional abilities like backstab (extra damage from behind), slow motion and a jet boost.   As you level these powers up, they’ll need more shards to do so requiring a fair bit of replay though it’s not quite as repetitive as it could be.  The game is broken up into 3 worlds, each with 6 thematically similar stages that ends in a massive boss battle against a large humanoid machine.  These stages will occur in a random order with differing enemies, powerups and where everything spawns so things don’t always feel quite the same.  1 of the stages is also just a timed obstacle course for lack of a better term where the only goal is to collect as many shards as possible before time runs out.

Each level beaten rewards you with new buffs.

Each enemy behaves in a different manor so memorizing how they can attack you is key to victory as some will just chase you down and explode in your face (I hate those guys the most) while other will take you out from afar with a variety of missiles, lasers and beam weapons.  Some may require you to destroy weak points on their frames before you can deliver significant damage with bosses behaving in the same fashion but with the bonus of having a game ending attack you need to interrupt regardless of your shields or health.  After getting more comfortable with the controls and a few upgrades did all the pieces fall into place and I began to appreciate the game loop though admittedly fatigue was beginning to set in as despite the mix-ups in stages, enemies and powerups things did start to feel a little samey.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a ton of fun when you find your groove and are swinging at top speeds while blasting foes all around you. It just gets a little stale if, like me, you take awhile to get into the groove and are forced to play the same opening stages more than a few times.

There are a few additional modes you can tackle as well with the 1st being Arcade that tasks you with getting a high score within a set limit on any stage in the game and can be played on 3 different difficulties.  I found this mode to be very challenging on ‘normal’ though it is a good way to hone those skills and get familiar with stages and should you care, there are various online leaderboards so you can compare your efforts with others who’ve attempted the same.  The last mode is free roam which removes enemies and power ups, places you in a city and just lets you swing around to your hearts content or take on racing challenges, making for a more chill experience for those looking for some zen in this often-chaotic game.

There is a lot of variety in the stages.

The 3D cel shaded art style from the 1st Swarm is back making for a game that really pops in the Quest 3 thanks to its 25% resolution bump over the Quest 2 as well as having no foveated rendering, an issue that has plagued many Quest built titles.  What that all means is that while the game can lack in finer details thanks to that cartoon art style, it looks super crisp and clean.  It’s not all great with the still image backgrounds looking a little blurry but given that you’ll be moving almost all the time and focused on the arena, it’s easy to avoid looking at them.  The stages vary in size with some being outdoors and much larger to smaller ones that require a little more finesse, like the narrow subway station.  Each stage is its own enclosed arena with some being in an endless desert or ocean though other could be in a section of a city with each arena keeping you in bounds by an invisible barrier and, should you hit it, you’ll get bounced back toward the action.  Bottom line is that it’s good at what it does, just don’t expect anything to crazy.

The boss battles are no joke!

Now as far audio design goes, it’s solid thanks to the cacophony of attacks and the array at which they can come.  Whizzing through the air sounds as it should and your grapple guns sound great with a notable stretching sound happening when you pull them down.  Bullets, explosions and enemy noises all sound fantastic with the 3D audio being present, but hard to hear at times given just how fast you can be moving and how many enemies are trying to take you down. I will say the soundtrack did sound a tad…generic with some tracks honestly sounding like placeholder music instead of a more action-oriented selections though once the action starts, the music gets drowned out anyways.

I like Swarm 2 and while I’m not the biggest fan of the Roguelike direction, I still had a lot of fun with this once I figured out what the game wanted from me.  Repetition is the name of the game here and while there are a couple of other modes, it’s really just more of the same, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The overall package is a solid one and worth the asking price as fans of the 1st game or roguelikes should pull a lot out of this thanks to the non-stop action and ridiculous aerial acrobatics at play.

Greensky Games provided The VR Grid with a press code for this title and, regardless of this review, we thank them for that!


  • Fast-paced and intense action
  • Plenty of Roguelike options
  • A couple of other modes beyond the campaign
  • Sharp and crisp presentation


  • My initial few runs were a little frustrating
  • Smaller stages can be troublesome to swing around
  • Does feel a little samey after awhile


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