Platforming titles have always been a challenge to gamers as soon as they begin adding in more intricate gameplay and confusing enemies to throw them off; Spheroids is no exception to this as it brings back the classic 8-bit feel along with drill-shooting action. This is the tale of an afraid, Canadian boy named Lucas defending the planet from spherical extra-terrestrials trying to annihilate the human race. Otto, a scientist, provides Lucas with a drill gun that shoots in lines going up and down. Although it sounds like it would be a good platformer it still has a long way to go and lots of polishing to make a “must buy”.
Fun gameplay mechanics: As Lucas adventures throughout the world destroying the Spheroids that are invading, Otto will provide him with even more gadgets or upgrades to the drill gun that add a new gameplay element. Gravity boots allows Lucas to stand on the ceiling for a short period of time, the grappling hook swings you across the map on special cubes, and different power-ups picked up during the game allow for shooting multiple hooks at once. These features coupled with the various enemies spread through the game make it entertaining and interesting to play through.
Variety of enemies: While at first only introducing the basic kind of Spheroid, the game brings in more aliens that have different powers from the first. Each have their own pattern of moving and sometimes at different speeds, others split up when hit and some can rejoin to create bigger Spheroids. The design of the enemies lacks in creativity as they are all spheres with different faces and only different colors but you begin to fear the ones that either invulnerable to your attacks or bounce at an alarming speed.
Easy Trophies and cute music: Though these don’t exactly correlate they are still minor things that can make a difference to a player and add to the purchase value. It wasn’t possible to complete the Trophy list considering a glitch that prevented me from the finishing the game but as soon as an update rolls out it’ll be an easy completion. Each level also has a score that would match other 8-bit games but also distinguishes each level apart. For example, the Japan level has a track that’s inspired by Japanese cultural tones, and the same goes or the Indian level.
Crashes happen: Seems that Spheroids needs to be updated as it crashes from time to time. This usually occurs while loading up a new level or coming up to an Otto cutscene. While it inconveniences the player by shutting off the game or simply freezing, the good thing to know is that it auto-saves so you won’t have to redo any levels that you’ve previously completed. Unfortunately, there’s a point in the Indian level of Spheroids that couldn’t be beaten as it wouldn’t allow the camera to progress after defeating the enemies. This is a major flaw in the coding that needs to be fixed up.
No replay value: You play through the game once and there’s no secret areas to explore that would have made it more engaging to travel through a second time around. If there were inaccessible areas the first time that would only be reachable with the new gadgets or upgrades then playing through once more would have been a big difference. It would be that or a new game plus that would include all the upgrades along with increased difficulty in the levels.
No game overs: You have hit points that you can pick up during the levels, however, if you die it just starts you back at whatever checkpoint you were at. This doesn’t provide enough sense of urgency to avoid enemies like typical platformers do, and makes the game that much easier to complete. It’s good for younger audiences that have trouble with these types of games but veteran platforming players will find it somewhat dull.
Not polished enough: While the game runs smoothly for the most part, there are times when you notice the little details that were left unfinished. Platforms that disappear into walls can be seen and sometimes glitch in or out of sight. Another frustrating aspect of not polishing up the game comes from enemies spawn points, in which you might be entering a new area and the Spheroid will spawn right in your hit box. It just seems that more testing should have been put into this to reduce the amount of annoying moments. There’s no such thing as a game over, but it still grinds at the player’s nerves.
Spheroids has good ideas for gameplay and the enemies can sometimes be a tough challenge to the player but the fact is it needs a lot of work. Aspects of the environment and Lucas flickers while shooting and pressing up against the wall and the game crashes and freezes. The biggest flaw is the fact that the player can’t even progress in the India level after defeating the enemies for some reason. The game had a lot of potential with fun ideas to but with lame-looking enemies and all these problems that constantly occur it suffers considerably. I would recommend it only if it was really cheap or free to play to platforming enthusiasts.
- Graphics - 65%65%
- Gameplay - 50%50%
- Controls - 65%65%
- Sound - 70%70%
- Replay Value - 10%10%
Spheroids was developed and published by Eclipse Games. It was released for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita [reviewed] on January 10th, 2017 and for the Xbox One and Windows 10 on January 20th. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.
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