Spheroids (Wii U) Review

By Camilo Aránguiz González 05.02.2017

Review for Spheroids on Wii U

Alien invasion, retro-styled graphics, and platforming may seem like a traditional blend that could remind us of the "good ol' days" of gaming. Add some other mechanics - like a grappling hook, switching gravity, and puzzle-shooting in the style of Pang/Buster Bros. - and the result should be perfection. Lamentably, theory isn't praxis.

If Hollywood movies have taught us something, it is that aliens are bad in the majority of the cases. When a cubed universe is invaded by something with round edges, then, it is the duty of Lucas, our protagonist, to defend the world from this… threat?

The plot is pretty basic, but plot in retro-styled games isn't that important, anyway. However, the problem here is how it's told: via cutscenes with no music and too fast dialogue. In general, throughout Spheroids, cutscenes are completely irrelevant, and even if they can be skipped, they imply at least two loading screens and an unnecessary explanation of a new enemy or mechanic that the game will introduce in the next level; an offense to the player's intelligence, because these gameplay elements are not, in any way, hard to understand.

Screenshot for Spheroids on Wii U

Even if they were difficult to learn, there wouldn't be a problem, considering one of the worst decisions in this game's direction: there's absolutely no punishment for dying; no enemies respawning, no lives or items lost, no progress gone. If a game allows free experimentation without penalty, then, what's the point of holding the hand of the player?

Moreover, this lack of danger concedes the possibility of beating the game without any effort or understanding of the gimmicks, allowing blind attempts of progressing that will eventually succeed, sacrificing all the reward Spheroids could provide. Furthermore, this decision turns the in-game currency absolutely pointless, which serves to buy health hearts, items and expand Lucas' health pool, which very rarely will be useful in the adventure.

Screenshot for Spheroids on Wii U

In terms of gameplay, Spheroids has some sparse good moments here and there, thanks to a combination of several mechanics. Sadly, none of them are very original - puzzle-shooting for destroying the apparently evil spheroids that mimics Pang; a grappling hook, reminiscent of Bionic Commando or any Spider-Man game; controlling gravity, evocative of Metal Storm or VVVVVV; jumping to the backgrounds, seen in Donkey Kong Country Returns or the more recent Poncho.

This isn't by any means bad by itself - the brilliant Shovel Knight, for example, also merged a lot of classic games mechanics in a fantastic result. Troubles arise when these features aren't combined in a fluent way. The stages are divided by moments of shooting the evil spheroids, and moments of platforming, which are by far the more entertaining sections, because using the grappling hook and controlling the gravity do combine excellently.

Screenshot for Spheroids on Wii U

Unfortunately, its level design couldn't handle all these different elements. A game that would've focused just on the grappling hook and gravity gimmicks could've worked delightfully as a platformer, but the main problem is that Spheroids bit off more than it could chew.

Nevertheless, by far the most infuriating aspect of the adventure is the unacceptable amount of glitches. Some of them will force restarting and losing all the progress of a level, some of them will simply freeze the system; all of which are technical impasses that, by themselves alone, will ruin anyone's experience.

Sadly, the aforementioned gameplay and technical flaws aren't the final weaknesses of the game. To all of the above, we have to add inconsistent controls, forgettable music, bad character design, boring sense of humour, uninspired and overused graphic style, unlikable characters, an anticlimactic final boss fight, and absolute absence of replay value. All of them completely annihilate any chance of a having a continuously good playing time.

Screenshot for Spheroids on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

Unbearable technical problems, awful gameplay direction, complete lack of challenge, besides many others flaws, are more than enough to overcome the momentary good platforming sections that Spheroids can offer, leaving nothing but a frown expression on the players who tolerate the game until its boring end.

Developer

Eclipse Games

Publisher

Eclipse Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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