Temtem: Swarm is a mashup of Pokémon and Vampire Survivors in which you blast cute critters by the hundred, if you’re looking for a post-Palworld slaughterfest

It seems Palworld has triggered a reckoning for cute video game animals. Mere weeks after Pocketpair’s survival sim saw stratospheric success by letting players murder and enslave legally distinct Pokémon knockoffs, the creators of creature-battling MMO Temtem have decided they’ve had enough of all that collecting and training nonsense. Instead, they’ll let players unleash unbridled wrath on its adorable menagerie of creatures in the “bullet heaven” spinoff Temtem Swarm.

As visible in the game’s announcement trailer, Temtem: Swarm is unashamedly inspired by Vampire Survivors, with players wandering around a large map viewed from a top-down perspective, unleashing colourful and devastating abilities on teeming hordes of cute Tems. 

Admittedly, Swarm makes more of an effort to be true to the spirit of Temtem than Palworld does toward Pokemon. Instead of playing a human with a gun and a grudge, Temtem has players control other Tems like Pigepic, Oree, and Platypet, thereby ensuring the violence remains exclusively Tem on Tem. Nonetheless, it is a bit weird watching these cute little critters unleash the flippin’ apocalypse on their fellow Temkind.

Temtem: Swarm also adds a couple of neat twists to the Vampire Survivors formula. It folds the concept of evolving creatures into Vampire Survivors’ feedback loop of levelling up to stay alive longer, with Tems getting to choose new perks as they increase in power. Moreover, according to developers Crema and GGTech studios, it’s also “built from the ground up with online 3-player co-op in mind.” Not only will this let players share resources and deploy coordinated attacks, but it also allows them to work together even when one or several players are downed. This is made possible by a mechanic called ‘Ghost Mode’, which lets eliminated players assist surviving teammates as a “spectral helper”.

Temtem: Swarm is coming to PC first, with a rough release window of “Q3 2024”. It’ll also launch with full Steam Deck support, which makes sense given Vampire Survivors is arguably the ultimate Steam Deck game.

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