Developer: Eendhoorn Games
Publisher: Eendhoorn Games
Tested on: PC
SpiritSphere – Review
Games always need to be faster, better and stronger than ever before. With the release of new consoles and virtual reality, this is getting even more important. Don’t worry if you want to relive the old days now and then, as retro game are still being released. There are developers out there that want to give players the sensation of one of the first games ever created. In SpiritSphere, you can have local multiplayer matches in an air-hockey/Pong lookalike setting so send your invitations out and get some snacks ready.
SpiritSphere wants to give you both single- as local multiplayer fun but doesn’t really provide any story. Yes, you can choose between several characters and unlock new ones, but there isn’t any background provided. This game mainly concentrates on the multiplayer part, although it would have been great if the singleplayer was a bit more developed.
This game will take you back to the more retro-style feel as it uses (enhanced) pixelated graphics. The developers have gotten their inspiration from The Legend of Zelda and Windjammers and it shows. You’ll recognise several different elements and sprites from both franchises, but there are quite a few additions as well. For instance, the trees in the forest surrounding can be found in different The Legend of Zelda games.
The surroundings all have their own particular setting and vibe, which makes it easier to play for longer sessions. Enemies and audience are also linked to these environments and fit in completely. Playable characters each have their own peculiar characteristics, while you can also customize them a bit by changing their color scheme. In the end, everything blends together well and gives you a pretty retro-setting.
Just as with the graphics, the developers did their best to provide a variety of music and sound effects. Each map has its own specific tune while there are quite some effects in place to give it that extra dimension. Swooshing a sword or shooting some arrows all have a fitting tune and makes it easier to determine what is happening.
As SpiritSphere is a retro game, it is natural that it will have 8-bit sound and effects. Also, the written text is guided by a pixelated voice, but this won’t occur that often as the tutorial is almost the only part where you’ll get something similar to a conversation.
SpiritSphere is an action/sports game that will give you the possibility to invite some friends and let your competitive side reign free. You will need to score points by hitting the sphere into the enemy camp and in their goal. This isn’t always an easy task, as each map has their own particular tricks or traps. Up to four people can compete against each other in local multiplayer, while you can also select the map, sphere and how many rounds are being played. If you’re with two, you can also tackle the squash mode, where you need to bounce the sphere against a wall and hope that the other player isn’t able to bounce it back while also avoiding the flying obstacle.
There is also a single player mode implemented, where you have 10 rounds you need to survive against random competitors on random maps. The squash mode is also injected here regularly while there is also a Frisbee level, which is also a nice change of pace. When you’re able to smash your opponent, you gain coins. On the other hand, when you lose battles you will see your stash of money decline rapidly. This currency can be used to throw into a lovely fountain, giving you new items. This means that you might receive new spheres or other goodies. You can select these upgrades when making a multiplayer session or they will appear randomly during single player mode.
It might sound quite simple, but there are actually some difficulties. Everyone can get into the game, but mastering the moves might get a bit tricky. You can hit the sphere by bumping into it, use a normal attack or you can choose to go for a charged assault, although this will decrease your movement a lot. Charged attacks give you the possibility to bend the curve of the ball after you hit it, so it is your choice how to tackle your opponent. There are also different power-ups or items that can drop, helping you to defeat your enemy and grab that victory. For instance, there are boots which makes you run faster, while there are bombs, bows and shields to damage or protect you. If that isn’t enough, you can also dash, making it easier to get closer to the ball or just pass it by completely.
Next to all these possibilities, each playable character has their own particular skill set. Ozo the wizard is able to teleport instead of dashing and you can choose where he will flash while his attacks might be a bit slower but have more reach. Lin on the other hand is able to use her sword quite fast but she’s also good for dashing. The combination of all these assets make it quite a challenge to get the hang of this game, although it’s really fun to play. Both single- as local multiplayer have their charms and it’s a great game to play with family or friends. The controls aren’t tedious and the battle system is just perfect for both seasoned gamers as new players.
SpiritSphere will drag you into a retro-themed world where you need to get the sphere into the other team’s camp. Next to the fun gameplay, you’re also treated by some great pixelated graphics and matching music. Although it would have been fun of there was more to the singleplayer, the game mainly focusses on the multiplayer aspect so if you’re looking for something you can pop on when you get together with friends or family, this surely is a game to look into.