Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 12.09.2017

Review for Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition on Nintendo Switch

While this generation has done a good job at reproducing that arcade-like quality that's been missing for so long, it's still important to recognize that coin-op inspired titles aren't without fault. Cabinets were designed with short bursts of gameplay and coin draining difficulty in mind. For a day out at the arcade, where multiple cabinets are ready for play at any moment's notice, this isn't a bad thing. For an individual game that has to be purchased, however, the arcade design philosophy doesn't exactly translate outside of its designated venue. Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition certainly captures that arcade feeling, but is that all it does?

Whenever price is a talking point in regards to a video game, quantity versus quality is sure to come up. Some may argue that pricier titles should have more content, others claim that it's better for developers to create a consistently good experience even if it's short. It's a tired debate, to say the least, but it does pave the way for a more interesting one: quantity versus variety.

Variety in video gaming isn't minigames or random side quests; it's how naturally gameplay can be catered to different playstyles. A two-hour campaign can easily be a twenty-hour with enough variety. If the designers provide the means for freedom in gameplay, quantity shouldn't matter at all.

Screenshot for Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition on Nintendo Switch

Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition is caught somewhere between prioritizing quantity and variety. There are quirks that can be purchased to throw some flavour into the campaign, but the main goal, and the means of achieving said goal, are static from start to finish.

In an attempt to appease the perpetually bored Lichtgods, two Germonauts are summoned to wield the legendary Lichtspeer and kill everything in their path. The opening is full of charm and goes on just long enough where it doesn't exhaust its humour, but all that setup goes to waste once the first stage properly begins.

In true arcade fashion, every main mechanic is introduced immediately. The Germonaut can aim their Lichtspeer, they can throw it, headshots drop enemies in one hit, and skills have cooldowns. They're all simple mechanics that allows the Germonaut to get through the first stage reliably, if a bit easily, but they don't offer much in the way of experimentation.

Screenshot for Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition on Nintendo Switch

The lack of variety in gameplay is sorely felt by the end of the first stage when tedium starts to rear its ugly head. Standing in place and tossing spears is fun in very short bursts, but it doesn't have a natural lasting power.

This isn't to say Lichtspeer is without high points, however. Bosses challenge reflexes and promote a fast level of play. Unlike the main missions, the level design present in each boss fight feels very deliberate and less copy and pasted.

There are some stages that play around with the base idea of standing on the left and throwing spears by tilting the stage or playing around with enemy variety, but that tedium always wriggles its way back into the ether somehow.

Screenshot for Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition on Nintendo Switch

For what it's worth, while they don't add too much to the experience, the ability to buy items from a shop with points does incentivize constant playthroughs and experimentation with different skills. Co-op multiplayer is also available, which does alleviate some of the monotony, though a lack of online is a massive disappointment.

If nothing else, Lichtspeer's art and sound design is nothing short of brilliant. Sharp angles bring the Germanic influences to life, and the tecnocumbian soundtrack only helps the aesthetic of the world thrive. The game design pays perhaps too much homage to the halcyon days of the arcade, but it's hard to dislike an experience that, nonetheless, bursts with charm.

Screenshot for Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition is nowhere near as good as it could be, yet it is still enjoyable for short bursts of gameplay. While the core mechanics are sorely lacking in variety and the stages a bit too underdesigned, boss fights stand out as the main justification for the price of admission, to the point where the spear-tossing simulator might have been a legitimate force to be reckoned with had it taken a Shadow of Colossus style approach. Fantastic art and sound direction don't make up for the underwhelming gameplay and lack of online multiplayer, but they do help mask some sore spots. Lichtspeer isn't going to engage on a deep level, nor is it an entirely positive representation of arcade design philosophy, but it can be fun in quick sessions, and there's always something interesting to make note of.

Developer

Crunching Koalas

Publisher

Crunching Koalas

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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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