There are two different types of platformer games; those that are meant to supply us gamers with a fun and relaxing gameplay, and those that prove to be even more defiant and difficult than other more fast-paced genres, such as shooters and action/adventure games. A great example of the latter is Enigma Software's latest title Alien Spidy; a challenging side-scroller that contest our reflexes with its straightforward game mechanics.
Alien Spidy tells the story of an otherworldly arachnid that attempts to follow his true love, a cute female spider (is that even possible?) who pursues exciting intergalactic adventures and new experiences. Unfortunately, the outer space is not nearly as comfy as Spidy could have thought. Not long after his departure from Aracnia, Spidy's spaceship fails on him, and he crash-lands in an unknown and ominous planet, called planet Earth.
Intro video ends, and you're set on a rainforest full of menacing obstacles such as poisonous plant life, predator insects and so on. Five tutorial levels are what follows from that point, explaining the basics and mechanics. You might want to pay attention to these prologue stages, as the speedy and straightforward gameplay will require your full notice. The controls might seem underwhelming at first, but Alien Spidy's Jump and Run sequences are hard to master and at the same time rewarding, once you successfully complete a level that is.
The main objective of the game is to collect orbs and accumulate the highest possible score, in order to advance further in the game. Be advised, it will not be a walk in the forest. One orb is worth only 5 points, so I needed to be fast and responsive to keep moving and collecting orbs, to get bonuses as I consecutively got 5 orbs in a row, or even 10, while at the same time dodging the perilous environment threats. At the end of each level, you're given a score and also penalized according to how many times you died and how much time it took you to beat the level, which I honestly found to be rather strict, to say the least. Whilst coupling well with the side-scroll gameplay, such an impact on the score can be the difference between getting one Star and Two or more stars, which are needed to unlock other worlds. There are no boss fights, but instead a final level that has you running and swinging as fast as your fingers allow, to get to the end of the level and find the scraps of Spidy's broken spaceship.
There are a total of three unique worlds, each with a set of a dozen of levels to blast through. Underwater, deep caves and jungles are available to explore and swing around, delivering the fun that a small spider in reality has when scouting said sites. Power-ups such as Jump Upgrades and Speed Enhancements will spice things up and give the game a nice overpowered feel, but these only last for a short while, so you got to be quick. Each world features one or more hidden levels, which can be unlocked by getting a Five star score on certain levels, and giving you even more content.
Be it falling to the water or bumping up against a wasp, Spidy has more than enough hindrances to keep an eye on. Shooting webs and swinging around the attractive surroundings is sure fun, but I also had to be very wary of the hazardous climate. Timing and reflexes are the key to proceed through Alien Spidy, so much so that impatient gamers and people looking to unwind might end up more stressed than they were. Frustration is perhaps a daily aspect on a gamer's routine; not being able to approach effectively certain goal for instance can thwart the game experience. However, it's just that side what works on favor of Alien Spidy, which motivates a Platformer lover to keep playing, and wanting to progress as smoothly as one can do, overcoming the nasty hungry lady bugs and dragonflies.
Unfortunately, those are not the only bugs I encountered while playing Alien Spidy. Sometimes, while hanging from a dandelion and swinging to prepare for the leap, I would get stuck on the ground itself, or onto one block of land, whose only purpose is to limit the levels reach. Another game-breaking bug that I found is reverting back to another checkpoint. If you die, you respawn at the latest reached checkpoint, but on one specific level, I accidentally walked over a previous checkpoint, and the power-up I had already used a few seconds ago was needed to move forward on the stage.
Graphics are breathtaking in their own way; gorgeous looking environments and jovially hand-drawn objects and enemies designs really set the mood, along with loony soundtracks and sound effects. Alien Spidy is fairly atmospheric, and guarantees to keep you immersed on a fantastical yet cheery universe.
Alien Spidy is ideal for those who enjoyed Rayman Origins and Oozi: Earth Adventure; incredibly quick gameplay, packed with a rather gloomy set of visuals and fitting score, Alien Spidy holds a decent deal of content that will surely meet our gamers' need for a platformer game with a 10$ price tag, withstanding the cons and letdowns the game has.