|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: EA Bright Light|
|Pub: Electronic Arts|
|Release: January 18, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
However, even when you're barking up the right tree, the interaction points are usually so finicky it can be hard to even find them. This can be particularly maddening when your goggles are telling you that what you want to interact with you is right in front of you. As an example, take the boss of the second world, a giant hybrid spider-monkey. The creature's legs are spread out across the corners of a massive cave, and there's a stone dais with arrow-like paths leading up to it underneath the beasts' middle. I won't get into how you beat the level (which is inexplicable, as it ran contrary to the damage you actually do to the boss), because the process is far too complicated and irritating to explain with any brevity. However, even the actions needed leading up to that point are also complicated.
The game gives you a cue that you have to stomp on a stone hand in the back of the dais, though it doesn't explain that doing so knocks a stone forward in the front, which you then need to push back in. Pushing the stone back releases one of the eggs that lay on top of the dais, which for some reason have spikes on them. Now, at this point, it's natural from a design perspective to think you'll need to do something with the eggs. It turns out you have to push them down the outward paths to the edge of the spider-monkey's hands. Finally, you have to knock the creature's hand into the egg so that it crushes it and weakens the cave's foundations.
That may sound easy on paper with all the steps laid out, but it took a great deal more trial and error than was necessary in order to figure it out, particularly the interactions with the eggs. The goggles were instructing me to use the strong arm on the eggs, but first I couldn't find the exact interaction point needed in order to do anything. Then I didn't know whether I needed to hit the spider-monkey's hand or try to drag it, and again had to try every option possible from almost every conceivable angle. Ultimately what was probably meant to be a ten-minute level turned into a 45-minute ordeal, and much of the rest of Spare Parts' design is similar.
I hate harping on design for a game that could have been good, but if these problems had been dealt with, Spare Parts could have had the potential to be something special. But without some kind of patch or just a better-made sequel (or both), this is hard sell. Only the most patient fans of robot-related platforming need apply, and even then I would still exercise caution.
CCC Freelance Writer