Via the ID@Xbox Program, Eclipse games has recently released Spheroids
for the Xbox One, a new action platformer that will have you jumping through hoops to rid humanity of a new and evil threat – spheroids. These are round, bouncing enemies that have suddenly appeared all over the world. You play the part of Lucas, a boy pressed into service to fight the creatures by the scientist Otto. Otto provides Lucas with the gadgets he needs to fight the swarm of sinister spheres while Otto searches for the source from which they’ve come. Among the recent wave of Indies, how does Spheroids hold up?
Kill those spheroids!
As the game begins, Lucas finds himself thrown into a world bouncing with trouble. The spheroids have invaded, and it’s up to the kid to deal with them. Initially, all Lucas has is his trusty drill gun/harpoon, and it can shoot in two directions only – up or down (you have to jump to shoot down). If you’ve ever played Bug Butcher
, you’ll recognize the mechanic. The game is very easy to pick up; the spheroids bounce, and you shoot them without letting them hit you as you move platform to platform – jump, dodge, shoot. That’s pretty much it. Early enemies are very easy – just big red bouncy balls. Soon enough, enemies divide when hit, making smaller and smaller versions of themselves. Dodging now becomes important as you try not to get hit by the little ones. As you proceed, you pick up coins with which you can buy upgrades for your gun and shield, as well as extra hearts for your HP. Luckily, death doesn’t affect progress. If you go down, you start back at the last check point and pick right back up again, leaving behind a corpse to show where you’ve fallen. There’s no downside to death at all except for any embarrassingly large piles of bodies you might leave in your wake.
Kill all the enemies to open the passages blocked by lasers.
Through the course of the game, you will visit eight different locations, each composed of several levels. Between locations you will get a smile out of the interactions between Lucas and Otto. The game is generous with checkpoints. Phone booth-looking stops that fill with water are soft checkpoints that are good as long as you don’t leave the game. A hard checkpoint is a teleporter to the next area that vaguely resembles a barber’s pole. At any time, you can re-visit areas that have been completed should you wish.
In some places, you will be able to destroy orange blocks by shooting them. Doing so strategically can trap an enemy in a small space while you unload on it. The orange blocks are also how you receive power-ups. When destroyed, they can drop dynamite (hits all enemies), hourglasses (slow enemies), clocks (stop enemies), extra hearts, or gun power-ups that double the speed at which you shoot. You will often find yourself trapped in a small area with multiple enemies. Blue lasers will block the exits until all of the enemies have been killed. It’s in these areas that the power-ups are most helpful.
Grapple and swing through spiker-infested areas.
As you travel through the world, levels become increasingly challenging. New enemies and new gadgets will become available. Spikers, for instance, are purple enemies that don’t move, but if you touch them, you’re damaged. They also can’t be killed, so they’re permanent obstacles that you have to get around. Otto will give you a grappling hook that lets you swing through certain areas then later gravity shoes that allow you to run upside down on ceilings or the undersides of platforms. At times, it becomes quite challenging to jump, swing, and hit the ceiling in the right order to get through. It keeps the game from getting boring, but there may be times you feel like putting a controller through the television.
The downsides to the game are few and minor. One is the graphics. It’s annoying to not realize what you’re looking at (coins don’t really look like coins, for example), but this is a small thing. There are times, too, that it would be very nice to be able to shoot sideways rather than being required to always shoot vertically, but again, it’s not a huge gripe. While not terribly innovative, the game is still fun.
The achievements in the game are easy to acquire. Half of the 16 achievements are for finishing each of the eight levels. The rest are for collecting coins, destroying balls, using certain power-ups, and making a purchase in the store. You’ll pick up most of these naturally along the way. If you get to the end and are still missing a few coins or power-ups, returning to that easy first world a few times will quickly remedy that. The game can be completed in 3-6 hours, depending on one’s platforming skills.
is a fast and easy completion for achievement hunters and a fun afternoon for platform enthusiasts. With easily learned gameplay and a nice sense of humor, the game is entertaining and fun.
Score: 7 out of 10
Release Date: February 9, 2017
Platform: Xbox One
Written by B1ueSeptember