Swarm - The Bugs Strike Back

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We rate this game medium.
   
(this is our rating, not Neopets')

NP Ratio: 1.79
720 pts :: 1000 NP

Introduction

Hop into your Wocky Tank and blast those bugs to defend Neopian Protection Zone 6b, not 7b which Adam (Neopets Founder) is using for asparagus cultivating experiments. The old game has been redesigned with fresh graphics and music.

Controls & Instructions

Using the left and right arrow keys you move your tank. Press the space bar to fire your shells and activate the laser.

Grow: Makes your tank larger and easier to get hit. Avoid it as best as you can.
Shrink: Useful as it shrinks your tank. Allows you to slip in between enemy fire easily. Grab it if you can.
Speed Up: Speeds up your tank so you can move faster. Extremely useful to be able to line yourself up for shots, and for escaping from a heavy barrage of fire in later waves.
Slow Down: Slows down your tank making it easier to die since you can't get out of the way. Avoid it.
Laser: A useful upgrade, it allows you to activate a laser shot that clears one entire vertical line in one shot. Further details follow down below.
AP Slugs: Standing for Armor Piercing I think, this makes your tank shells larger and faster. You have a limited supply of these shells.
Shield: Useful upgrade, in that you can take one shot without dying.
Wall Repair: This repairs the wall barriers in front of you to full strength, really only useful in the later levels.

Red Bugs - your standard enemy, blast these without missing any shots and you get a multiplying score. 1 for the first, 2 for the second, 4 for the third, 8 for the fourth and so on.
Green Bugs - Hitting these does not reset your Red Bug multiplying score, so don't get worried if you miss a red bug and hit this one. Also, they drop upgrades which are useful.

Tips & Strategies

Here are some tips to maximizing your score...

  • In order to get a high score, take your time and don't miss any shots...
  • Avoid the laser, it doesn't give you as many points as taking out the bugs with single shots
  • Shoot the green bugs to get an upgrade to drop automatically

IMPORTANT WARNING: if you hit the barrier with your first shot, each of the bugs will only be worth 3 points. Also, the points for that level won't accumulate. So don't ever use your space bar to start a level!

First off, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the shots. Since the shots are slow and the bugs move at varying rates with each wave, you'll find yourself missing if you're not used to the timing. You should quickly realize that your shots won't hit them if you are already aligned with them unless they are in your face.

Instead, get used to being further along horizontally, so that your shot meets up with them as they move towards you. The further back they are, the longer the shot has to travel so you'll need to be further off to a side. One trick would be to camp out near one of the sides and pick those off since they will bounce back and forth from one side of the screen to the next in a wave.

If you kill one entire column, they will all be able to move further on that side. Sometimes it pays to keep one of the bugs alive to keep the column shape still there, and you can pick off the bugs around them.

Hide behind the barriers as much as you can, pop out, fire, and hide again, this way you can take them all out quickly. Try to spread out your fire, otherwise you'll have bugs on the sides moving along rapidly and dangerously.

In this game, accuracy counts, a lot. Killing the red bugs without missing gives you multiplied points, as you get 1 for the first, 2 for the next, 4, for the third in a row, and so forth. So timing is incredibly critical as you progress. Restart the game if you miss a single bug in the first wave, and this will increase your score. The green bugs up top not only release power ups, but are an inexhaustible supply of points as well. Killing these also save your accuracy for red bugs, but it will not increase them.

Using the laser will hurt your score, as you cannot increase the multiplying score for each bug and you may even miss with the shell that is fired off. AP Slugs can be tricky sometimes, since it throws off your timing. Also, be very careful as you run out, as you might be expecting another AP slug and you fire off the regular pea shooter kind.

Conclusion

Timing is everything when it comes to accuracy, and repeated experience will give you a good idea of just when to fire and when you should hold back. Patience will pay off if you're after higher scores as well, keep it in mind. Don't be rash and instead be patient to make sure you take your shots properly as missing can severely cut your score down, that's probably the most important thing to keep in mind.

Written by Lord Rahl
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