Spheroids, from Eclipse Games, is a 2D bubble popping platform game set in a cubic pixel-art styled world. It mixes elements of Pang! with Super Mario Bros and binds them together with the kind of comical nonsense that could be lifted straight from the likes of Futurama or any of the humourous late 80’s sci-fi films such as Back to the Future and Spaceballs.
In Spheroids you assume the role of a Canadian boy called Lucas. His scientist chum Otto (who’s like a pixelated version of Dr Emmett Brown) has discovered that there are a number of alternate universes, which the government, for some reason, has been hiding. These universes differ from Lucas’s square-filled world because they contain spheres and they are a breeding ground for a dangerous race of aliens: the Spheroids.
These Spheroids bounce ominously around the screen and need to be destroyed because they are intent on conquering the world. You do this in true Pang! fashion by shooting them with a harpoon which divides them. You rinse and repeat this process until they vanish.
As you make your way through the game you will keep revisiting the professor who will dish out information as well as new equipment like Gravity Boots and grapple hook, which helps to move the narrative and mix up the gameplay a little, before teleporting you to various locations such as Russia, Egypt and Japan until you finally reach the boss on Easter Island.
Graphically Spheroids looks good on both the PS4 and the PS Vita. The visuals of the Spheroids are highly detailed which makes them stand out and contrast well with the pixel-art world that they are trying to invade. Each of the locations that you visit look visually different and there’s some cool retro nods to look out for like the “Not Polybius” arcade terminal which you use to buy temporary power-ups.
Spheroids has sixteen trophies, half of them are tied to finishing the various chapters in the game. The rest are awarded for collecting coins, using power-ups and popping those pesky aliens. All-in-all 100% completion is very achievable as it’s a fairly easy trophy set and you can play it on the PS4 and PS Vita to double up the trophies.
Spheroids would normally be the kind of game that I’d recommend as it’s bright, colourful and the mechanics are tight. It’s got that feeling of nostalgia with a premise that is pretty good but unfortunately the gameplay lets it down. It’s not difficult or challenging its just repetitive. There’s no penalty for dying you just carry on from your last checkpoint. There’s no timers either which isn’t an issue but it would have given a sense of urgency like there was in last years Pang! clone – Pang Adventures. Also the Vita version has crashing issues (even after the latest patch) which is a shame as it’s the system I preferred playing it on.
NelMaNo Rating – 6/10
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