SpiritSphere (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 23.02.2017

Review for SpiritSphere on PC

Indie sports games have a tendency to be, well...weird. This isn't an insult, mind you, just an observation. Indie sports titles are more interested in bizarre gameplay than triple A juggernauts like Madden. So, you end up with more titles like SportFriends, iDARB and Rocket League. SpiritSphere is, even by indie standards, a bit odd, though. However, it's not odd in that "Wow, who would have thought to make this" kind of way. No, it's odd in an "I can't believe no one did this sooner" kind of way.

SpiritSphere is essentially air hockey, but with the background and art style of old 8-bit games. Much like one of the last fight with Ganon in Ocarina of Time, you are tasked with playing a deadly game of tennis with your opponent, smacking an orb back and forth until one of you lands it in the oppositions goal. This works only moderately well in single player, but manages to be highly engaging if you're playing with a friend.

You will begin your adventure with one of the most oft quoted lines in gaming, and then set out on your adventure. From here on out, you will be squaring off with enemies, whacking the titular spirit sphere back and forth, hoping to score a goal before your opponent. Early on, it's clear that your enemies have a serious advantage over you. The first enemy you'll face in story mode can teleport and summon large fireballs to prevent you from scoring a goal. It's intimidating, and then quickly, it's annoying.

There's also a healthy dose of information you'll need to learn. It's not enough to run around the field, thwacking the sphere. You'll use different attacks, collect power ups, and even destroy the environment in order to defeat your opponent. It works so much better with a local partner, because it means you are on the same level playing field. No crazy enemy AI, just you and a friend battling it out.

Screenshot for SpiritSphere on PC

The local multiplayer is worthy of its own league, similar to Rocket League or DOTA. Couple in the fact that there are environmental obstacles to overcome, and you'll have one of the best couch games to come out in years. Combining the excellent controls with the deep gameplay, it really feels like you've joined an exclusive club, and you are one of the few with the knowledge. Fortunately, despite the depth of the gameplay, everything is remarkably simple to learn.

The games aesthetic, that of early Zelda games, works wonderfully, even if we've seen it time and time again. This doesn't feel like a bout with a random mid-level boss, it feels like a journey. This is fortunate, because the single player leaves a bit to be desired. The difficulty has a tendency to feel very unbalanced, as enemies are often far more capable than you are, even early on. There's also levels that change the rules entirely, and they don't always explain things very well. Now this isn't to say there's nothing enjoyable in the single player, but it just doesn't seem to have the same feeling of control the multiplayer has, and a lot of this has to do with the enemies just being plain vicious.

It's nice to finally thwart that one baddie who's been standing in your way for the last 45 minutes, but it doesn't feel particularly exciting. It's fine though, as it really works best as a multiplayer only game. Of course, there are those among us who will seek to topple the single player story, and that's fine. This game has a unique feel that will likely garner major fandom. Currently there is no online multiplayer, which is unfortunate as it means you have to have a friend with you to play. Hopefully that will get changed down the road, but the current package is enough to justify venturing in.

Screenshot for SpiritSphere on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Spiritsphere is incredibly fun when it focuses on its competitive nature. It doesn't really feel very exciting when it tries to be a solo experience, but it does manage to be a breath of fresh air in local competitive e-sports. Perhaps with an online component, it could become a sports and Zelda fan's dream title. Until then, though, it's still a whole lot fun in a somewhat unconventional package.

Developer

Eendhoorn Games

Publisher

Eendhoorn Games

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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