Multiplayer experiences were a hallmark for Play NYC this year. The camaraderie shared between friends is especially intoxicating when in competition with each other. While there was no shortage of multiplayer games, one of the few to stand out by its sheer amounts of content was the online multiplayer title Swimsanity! by Decoy Games.
The three man team is a sort of Cinderella story; it is a trio of passionate game players with no prior professional game development experience. The team has been working on the concepts for their game since 2008, when lead developer and co-founder Khalil Abdullah created his first proof of concept as a flash game. Abdullah chronicles the whole story of Swimsanity! on his personal blog, recounting the recruitment of his brother Ahmed and friend Chris Venne to the project, to their first prototype of the game, all the way to the final product.
For such little experience as developers, Decoy Games' first title is a well-polished, colorful multiplayer slug-fest filled with imagination. Swimsanity! is a simple premise: you play the diver Mooba who, depending on the game mode you select, will battle underwater creatures with a friend, or fight it out with three friends in multiplayer. Swimsanity! holds eight different gameplay modes, ranging from classic deathmatch to horde modes, to a survival-elimination mode where you need to outlast the other players.
The multiplayer modes provide a great foundation for a lot of what the game offers. Movement is entirely underwater, so swimming and using momentum to quickly float out of the way of projectiles is how players maneuver on a game map. Characters can pick up power-ups that give them better weapons, speed, shields, and health, and even one of ten special moves called 'unleashes' that do massive damage. These Unleashes can be lighting strikes to even summoning a shark to chomp your opponents, adding to the chaos found on a given stage.
What makes Swimsanity! so well done is how each gameplay mode was given the same attention to detail as the others. Decoy Games didn't de-emphasize co-op over multiplayer, so what you have a game with perfect balance that is ripe for an online-focused demographic. The games co-op adventure mode is filled with difficult bosses and challenging enemies. Most of your fights will be against twisted denizens from the deep, from simple-minded lobsters to kamikaze seahorses.
Swimsanity! already has a version playable on Steam, but the main goal for Decoy games is now console release. Their primary targets are the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which are both likely to release some time next year.
What are your thoughts on Swimsanity!? Does it look like a fun multiplayer experience? Leave your comments below and be sure to check out the rest of what we saw at Play NYC by going to our Play NYC 2018 Coverage Hub.