Swimsanity! PlayStation 4 Review

Swimsanity! PlayStation 4 Review

By: John C. Mayberry

Another recent example of the resurgence of arcade style gameplay, Swimsanity! is a nostalgia inducing game in everything from the style of gameplay down to the notorious difficulty of arcade style shooters, like Raiden or Gradius. Though it may be a bit too difficult for some, this game does successfully pay homage to several classic games that are still loved today. Despite its difficulty, Swimsanity! still offers the fun factor that is addicting in either single player or online with friends and other players, especially those that are still arcade buffs.

Like most classic arcade style shooters and indie games, Swimsanity! does not have much of a story, only stating that you’re playing as Mooba, who uses various power-ups to survive in his aquatic world. Once the gameplay begins, the player is treated to clean and clear animation done in a cartoonish fashion, which is also inspired by other classic games. Some examples include the enemy characters which you may find resemble Mega Man enemies. Mooba also appears to be similar in appearance to Metroid’s Samus. Replay value is increased as well by the numerous challenges you are presented with to unlock more rewards, such as weapon upgrades. As addicting of a game as it is, there are other aspects of it that could turn other players off to the game entirely. The load times, on the PlayStation 4 version at least, are noticeably longer than they should be. During solo play it takes a while for the game to load, which is nothing compared to accessing or creating online matches unfortunately. Load times with online play are very much longer than the normal load time for this game, with the game occasionally crashing on top of that.

Swimsanity! on the PlayStation 4 can certainly be a frustrating experience for those gamers who maybe less patient and others, but still has everything it needs to appeal to gamers who have an appreciation for the classics. Addicting in its gameplay yet still a challenge that somehow keeps you coming back, this game is worth the play. That is, if you feel you’re brave enough to patiently, withholding whatever rage boils within you, endure its sometimes-punishing difficulty. But hey, if you like the punishment of the difficult ass games of old, you’ll be right at home.


  • Game graphics and animation – The game’s graphics, from the characters to the environments you play through, are done in a sharp and clear cartoon animation style that all gamers I’m sure can appreciate if done the right way, which Swimsanity! definitely has.
  • Different gameplay modes – Eight different gameplay modes, ranging from things like single player local to four player online co-op as examples enhance the replay value along with the many challenges you can achieve in each mode, of which there are well over 100 of them!
  • Variety of weapons – The player has their standard hand blaster, but other weapons, such as missiles and bombs are readily available almost everywhere in the level you go. Along with that are also power ups that give you things like rapid fire, maximum speed, and health. On top of this are special attacks that allow you to do a variety of things, like unleashing harpoons from the top of the screen to attack all enemies, transform into a piranha to instantly take out enemies, even one that allows you to heal.
  • Character and enemy design – The character and enemy designs add more to the nostalgic fun factor. At first glance players will see everything, characters and environments, are inspired by classic games, such as Mega Man (enemy design) and Metriod (player), and since you’re underwater, has the feel of the swimming levels of the original Super Mario Bros.
  • Gameplay – Gameplay is easy and accessible to all ages. The controls are a noticeable difference from the classic arcade games too since you can just hold down the fire button instead of the button mashing, so it’s all around easier on your hands. But occasional breaks wouldn’t hurt either.


  • Unable to skip cutscenes – Even if it’s a level you’ve played before, no matter what if you start from the beginning of that level, you HAVE to watch the cutscene, whether you want to or not. The cutscenes themselves are not excruciatingly long, but this can become a bit of a nuisance.
  • Load times – For a game of this simplicity, the load times are excessively long. Even on one player local games it takes longer than it should. The problem worsens when playing joining online matches or creating rooms, with even longer load times in addition to the game occasionally crashing, requiring you to close and restart the game.
  • Diffuculty – In keeping with the nostalgia factor, this game also seems to be influenced by their dreaded difficulty levels. Mooba has a life bar for in-level enemies, but by either physical contact with a level boss or any random traps there maybe, the rage inducing one-hit deaths have returned.

OVERALL RATING – 7 out of 10

There are plenty of things that make the PlayStation 4 version of Swimsanity! a fun game, from character and level designs to the addicting gameplay of the age of arcades. Unfortunately, however, the drawbacks present here are enough to possibly convince many players that this game feels a bit broken. Which I will admit does seem unfair, but only in the way that I’m sure that this game will have software updates that will fix any outstanding issues that are harming the game’s playability, but because of the game’s existing issues, I’m sure many gamers may be turned off by this game before any improvement in software is released.

Get Swimsanity here: https://store.playstation.com/en-us/product/UP0202-CUSA14304_00-0000000000000011