Alien Swarm

Developer: Valve
Release Date: July 19, 2010
Platform: PC
RPVP: Free
Size: 2028 MB


Alien Swarm is a Third Person Shooter game that started off as a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004, but as Valve seems to have a tradition of turning famous mods into full-fledged games (much like Counter-Strike: Source and more recently DoTA 2), it was officially released in 2010.
As the alien hunting game it is, Alien Swarm has a simple plot which consists in eradicating all these creatures from various human bases, either because you need data kept in these bases, or because you need to blow these bases up to kill everything inside.

Alien Swarm has four different classes (Officer, Sp. Weapons, Medic and Tech), each having two different characters and different functions and bonuses of course: The Officer grants a passive bonus damage and extra protection to the group and has access to the Vindicator weapon, Sp. Weapons can use the Autogun, a minigun with a pretty big magazine and auto aim, the Medic who can use healing beacons to heal the whole party and at a higher level use the Medigun to heal specific group members or himself and the Tech, which is needed for most missions to open doors or hack computers (done via minigame) and that can weld doors faster, mount sentry guns faster and that gains access to the Prototype Rifle later in the game.


In the only campaign present in the game, Jacob’s Rest, an alien swarm invaded and took over a colonized planet in the year 2052. You assume the role of one of four marines deployed by the dropship Bloodhound. Your mission is to search for survivors and, if needed, blow up the colony to prevent the alien spread. This, of course, while you kill hundreds of aliens, eggs, parasites, giant bug-like creatures and so forth.

Game Modes and Difficulty

Although the game features an offline mode where you are accompanied by 3 AI controlled allies, the game is meant to play online, since it supports 4 player co-op. Jacob’s Rest Campaign features 7 missions where your objectives vary from obtaining data, destroying alien eggs, blowing up places or just plain escaping. You can always choose the mission your campaign will start in, so if you want to go through it you don’t need to do it all in one sitting. You can create and host your own game, set private slots for your friends or join other public games.
There are over 30 items, almost all unlocked as you level up. You do so by completing the missions, gaining bonus XP for killing more enemies, not doing friendly fire or completing achievements. There are sixty-six achievements, some very easy and some that require endless hours of gameplay, like, for example, “Kill 100,000 enemies”. Just to give you an idea, if you’re playing as Sp. Weapons you will kill somewhere between 50 and 100 enemies per mission so…do the math. There is also an option to increase friendly fire damage and the Onslaught mode which changes the AI so enemies will spawn differently depending on several factors.

The difficulties available are Easy, Normal, Hard, Insane and Brutal. Easy and normal are both playable with any strangers whether or not they are experienced or just starting, but if you want to go with Hard or above, you should either go with your friends or with experienced strangers. You can determine how experienced a player is by the type of star he has. Once you reach level twenty-seven (maximum level), you can get a promotion. This basically resets your level down to one and locks all the items you had previously unlocked by leveling. You also get a star for each promotion which other players can see. Getting a promotion also means that leveling up will take more experience than before and you can get a maximum of six promotions. Being a steam game by Valve, it supports steam cloud and haves achievements. Also, the Source Development Kit (SDK) is available for free with the game for everyone and not just for people that own a source-powered game, so it’s easy to find player-made campaigns, which increases the game’s longevity.


When I found out about a free source-powered game with aliens, I immediately felt like giving it a try, since I love the whole half-life continuum and alien-themed games in general. The game wasn’t big so I just went ahead and gave it a try. The top down third-person perspective is pretty strange at first if you're not used to this type of camera and you can't seem to hit the enemies quick enough by moving your cursor around the screen like crazy. Of course, nothing a couple hours of gameplay won’t solve. Just host a match or join one already created. If the players are in the lobby, you will join then automatically for their next mission. If they are in the middle of one you will spectate until they are finished and go to the lobby. The game is relatively simple and there's always a considerable number of people playing, so you can get into the action pretty quickly. The initial missions are pretty much self-explanatory but as you progress, you better pay attention to the objectives and to your mini map. Certain missions require you to burn alien eggs, and as such they temporarily unlock the Flamer for you to use, even though the Flamer is only unlocked at level 17. This is by far the most overpowered weapon in the game: one touch by its flame and most enemies will take enough damage to die. Besides, most creatures attack very very slowly when they're on fire, so you can literally put fire to a multitude of enemies when they corner you and leave unscathed.

From a certain point on there are parasites which infect you when they jump to your face. This will drain all of your health if not continuously healed for a while. While this is a good mechanic to increase the game’s difficulty, it makes the presence of a medic mandatory, since one touch from this creatures means death. These are smaller and consequently harder to see and the dark ambience of the game doesn't help, so you really have to stay on your toes. In the levels that require you to burn eggs they are pointed out for you on your minimap, which is great, since beginners or casual players don't need to wander around too much or memorize the entire level, even if they end up doing it after a couple of replays. There are lots of weapons which unlock each time you level up, with the exception of basic weapons that are unlocked from the start. Shotguns, miniguns, electric guns, grenades, rockets, sentry guns that shoot, burn, freeze or stun your enemies and a lot more, even though most of the items like grenades and such tend to get ignored in favor of huge guns you use to kill aliens. It's a pretty good game to play with friends, its small (around 2Gb) and it's free. And it's good multiplayer fun, with its achievements and all and I recommend it.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

The Good
The Bad
  • Fun to play with friends;
  • Does not require that you own a Source game;
  • It’s free;
  • Includes SDK so you can create your own levels;
  • Haves a leveling system, which adds greatly to the replay value.
  • Loading time feels a bit too long for a source game;
  • If you die you will spectate for the rest of the mission, no respawn;
  • In most missions, if the Tech dies, you will automatically fail.


Alien Swarm is a pretty nice game, especially if you have some friends to play it with. It’s free and has several achievements that will need lots of practice to get, like the speedruns for example, and besides, it’s free. So if you have a steam account and you like shooters you can download it and start playing online. If you don’t have a steam account, well it’s about time you made one. I’m not going to give this game a score (or any game, for that matter), I will instead tell you that it’s a decent game that deserves to be played.
The game can be found here:

My Final Gameplay Stats:

Time Played: 18 Hours
Achievements Unlocked: 31 / 66 (47%)
Promotions and level: Level 19, Second Promotion
Class Played the most: Tech
Difficulty played the most: Normal