Alien Spidy Review
Lately I’ve noticed a re-emergence of platform indie games. There is the artistic type that has a hidden, and sometimes depressing meaning behind the whole game, which isn’t a bad thing if you’re into games that provide more than just fun. Then, there is the other type of playful platformer, which has a quirky cartoon style and falls in to either weird, occult, violent or bloody categories, which is not bad either, if that’s your kind of thing. But in the middle of it all we have those platformers that try not to be either of the above and aim to be challenging fun. Often, these games miss the target completely. Alien Spidy stands in the centre and is the only one that seems to hit that mark.
When I first started playing Alien Spidy I couldn’t help but have feel nostalgic. Gone are the days of Crash Bandicoot and Rayman, when it was nothing but cartoon silliness from the lovable mascots. So, it was nice to have that feeling again while playing Alien Spidy. Although the game’s story is completely silent, I felt that I could tell what the characters were saying through body language alone, which is rare in current games. The lovingly crafted 2-D backgrounds, characters and music fit well with the games message, “We are a game designed for fun and nothing else”.
Alien Spidy provides exactly what you might expect from a side scrolling platformer. You jump, collect orbs and try to reach the end of the level whilst avoiding various things that will kill you. Of course, that would be the same for any platformer. Alien Spidy adds an addition to this formula: you shoot webs to swing around the levels, which are designed to be navigated with one fluid motion. This adds a lot more of a challenge to running around trying to collect orbs, whilst avoiding things that will kill you. Your web must be shot at exactly the right time and have exactly the right length to reach the right speed and swing onto the next platform, or through lines of orbs. Once it’s all done right, it’s quite rewarding.
Alien Spidy’s fluidity is also its drawback. With movements so smooth that I found myself making mistakes time and time again until I began to finally learn from them. Occasionally, it was too late as I had already racked up seven deaths through one section of the level. For example, I had to meet a set score at the end of a level to get a certain amount of stars. Throughout the running, jumping, web shooting and the stack of spider corpses, I didn’t meet the quota of points, due to how long I had taken to reach the end of the level and the amount of times I had died. I still passed on to the next level, but I felt unsatisfied with my results, which made me want to restart that level all over again to achieve a higher result. Which I didn’t, sadly. I switched to the Xbox emulator as it’s compatible with the Xbox controller, still, the results where the same.
I could just be terrible at Alien Spidy. I’m not afraid to admit that. But the experience of playing this old-school platformer made me feel I was back in the good old days of the N64 and PlayStation. Which is all I need when it’s time for a break from the deep and artistic.
Developer: Enigma SP
Publisher: Kalypso Media Digital
Release Date: 20 Mar 2013