|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360*|
|Dev: Enigma Software|
|Pub: Kalypso Media Digital|
|Release: March 20, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Comedic Mischief|
So I figured I’d just take the game at face value. No, the platforming wasn’t perfect, with an absolutely infuriating web-aiming mechanic, but that was okay. I would take it at my leisure, and not worry about how poorly I performed in a given level. I made it through the sixteen levels of the first world and then tried to proceed onward.
I was locked to the first world.
Further inspection revealed the truth: A certain number of stars was necessary to progress. How were stars awarded? It was based on point total in a given level. Remember what I said about the checkpoints making things more leisurely? They’re actually your worse boon. Every time you return to a checkpoint, you lose all points collected since, less an extra 2,000. This results in a difficult section, or one in which you continually score poorly, setting you back tens of thousands of points. The point requirements for stars vary wildly by level, which is another problem, since it skews the game’s difficulty curve, but it holds mostly true that in order to do appreciably in any level, you must more or less make a straight, flawless shot from beginning to end, unmolested by the level’s dangers. While doing this, you must also collected almost all of the point orbs, and do so with enough rapidity to get the massive bonuses you receive for five and ten orb chains.
This leads to a lot of restarting. Again, that would be fine, except that restarting a level in Alien Spidy isn’t immediate. The “suicide” button only sends you back to the last checkpoint (less your 2,000 point teleportation fee). To restart a level, you have to pause, pick the “restart level option,” after which you’re booted to the loading screen before finally making it back to the start of the level, where it reminds you how many points you need to get the next star rating. Star ratings are out of five, but you’ll only start a level knowing how many you need for a two. Get a rating, and it’ll reveal the point value necessary for the next rank up. It’s a pointlessly obfuscated system.
All of this sucks the fun out of a potentially quirky and charming platformer. Alien Spidy is so close to being an enjoyable, active puzzle experience, but it lacks the fluidity, both in gameplay and in progression, that would allow it to be a truly memorable and engaging experience.
Date: March 28, 2013