Reader Review: Alien Swarm

Reader Review: Alien Swarm

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Steven does, as his structural perfection is matched only by his hostility.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Steven Blake. If you’ve played Alien Swarm, or just want to ask Steven more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Alien Swarm (PC)

Alien Swarm is a top down, co-op shooter from the crew at Valve who developed Left 4 Dead 1 & 2. It is a remake of the Alien Swarm Mod for Unreal Tournament 2004 and is available from Steam free of charge. Set against the backdrop of a destroyed human colony, four marines must fight their way through waves of aliens to destroy alien bio-mass, swarm eggs and attempt to make contact with any survivors. Each player can choose from four different classes; Special Weapons, Medic, Officer or Tech Support. Each class has its own unique weapons and skills, with a total of 40 weapons to unlock throughout the game.


Control of Mission: Although a linear game, a lot of freedom is given to the players on how you can progress through a level. For example, players have the ability to carry deployable sentry guns, so if there is a known ambush ahead up to four sentries could be deployed and players could then lure the swarm towards a kill zone.

Custom Battle Music: During intense battles, bullet-time is activated for a short period and intense music is played. In the audio options menu, the player is able to choose what song is played from their own music files. This is a great finishing touch to make battles that little bit more personal.

Unlocks, Unlocks, Unlocks! The variety of unlocks in this game is spectacular considering the short length of the campaign. Mini-guns, flame throwing sentry guns and tesla rifles are just a taste of what you can expect.


Shorter Than Portal: While the campaign was good, it was too short. After completing the game through once I was less than halfay through unlocking the weapons. Needless to say I came back for more, however I still feel it could have been extended.

Boring Medic Syndrome: The medic class is somewhat underwhelming. It feels as if the medic was forced into the game to provide a fourth class and healing for teammates. Other than the ability to heal, the medic has no real special abilities and is unable to wield the more powerful weapons. Playing medic often felt like a chore.

Overall I would highly recommend checking this game out; it is after all, completely free. Its shortcomings can easily be overlooked, and if you are into co-op this is definitely for you. It will only be a matter of time until more levels and mods are released from the community, thanks to Valve releasing a software development kit alongside the game. Alien Swarm gets a thumbs-up from me.

Reviewed by: Steven Blake

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words – yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


  • OK, I agree with most sf these points, however I do feel something is missing… IT’S FREE!!!

    That changes a few things. Who cares that it’s shorter than portal? You paid $20 for that when it came out! Who cares if the medic class is boring? You didn’t give Valve any money!

    Also, I would disagree that the medic is boring. I have played the medic the second most. I find that supporting my team mates is as fun as in TF2, and as vital as in any MMO. I very much enjoy cutting through swathes of aliens to save my team mates from infestation. I have found that I’m frequently doing the most kills as a medic, and I feel that it’s the most rewarding class.

    • As stated near the end, the shortcomings can be overlooked since it’s free.

      Also, as a tf2 player myself, I feel the medic in Alien swarm lacks that slight edge which makes it challenging & fun. In tf2, that edge is the Ubercharge/kritzkrieg and health buffing.

  • medic are awesome fun

    let a parasite get on a pug that is annoying you and just dont use the med gun on them

    then fun fun they rage

  • While the medic doesn’t get any really cool toys to use, you’ve probably got the most control over how well the team does. A lapse of attention or mismanagement of supplies and someone will end up dead! It’s the highest pressure role to play.

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