When a multiplayer-focused game is released, sometimes the single player side of things gets forgotten about. Spitlings is a game that, while definitely more fun with a friend or two, can still be largely enjoyed on your own, and manages to find that great balance between fun, chaotic and challenging gameplay.
Spitlings are little cube-shaped creatures, and the game’s story follows four of them in particular. These four Spitlings are initially helpless as their city is attacked by a giant goo that swallows everything in its path, but they team up in order to save their fellow Spitlings. It’s a voiceless story that is told in fantastic comic-based cutscenes, with bright, vibrant pictures. Although the game would function perfectly fine without any story, it’s a nice touch to add one in and it gives the player some direction as to why they are doing what they are doing.
In order to defeat this goo, you take on the role of a Spitling, making your way through various levels shooting your teeth at bubbles. Get rid of all these bubbles and you beat the level. This might sound easy, but Spitlings is deceptive. Each bubble will split in two as you hit it, meaning double the enemies and double the chaos (or fun, depending on how you look at it). You can only shoot up or down, which keeps things nice and simple, but Spitlings is surprisingly addictive, and part of this is definitely down to this simplicity, and how easy it is to just pick up and play.
The game does require some tactical thinking though, and the levels get steadily more difficult as you progress. Add in spikes, switches, disappearing platforms, bouncy floors and sticky walls, and you’ve got a game that only the truly dedicated will reach the end of. There’s over 100 basic levels for you to complete in the Story, and unlockable bonus levels on top by finishing time trials. These bonuses are considerably harder and add on a huge amount of playtime, making this the perfect game for a puzzle fanatic completionist.
The level designs are really well done and with only one screen’s worth of puzzle, Spitlings manage to mix things up really well. One minute you’ll be bouncing in between spikes and the next you’ll be hanging onto a wall trying to avoid a giant bubble, but the game is not without its annoyances. Having to sit still for ten seconds or so to reload your ammo feels like the longest time, and is probably the most frustrating part of the game, but it’s all part of the struggle and the challenge to complete the levels.
Playing alone, Spitlings will eventually begin to feel repetitive. This is usually rectified by grabbing a friend or two and bringing them along for the chaos. While you can have up to 4 players in either of the modes (Story or Party), this can be either a blessing or a curse. You will have an extra three mouths to spit teeth at enemies, but you also have an extra 3 targets for the enemies to hit.
If one of you dies, you all die, making this the perfect frustration-inducing couch co-op game. This is built upon further with the Party mode that sees you working together and simultaneously go head to head with your friends, while also allowing you to add on mutators to your gameplay. The ability to make things a lot easier, or a lot harder, keeps the multiplayer side of the game fresh and fun, and as addictive as it is annoying.
Spitlings offers motivation to complete every section of the game, not only in terms of in-game achievements, but also unlockable characters. Each Spitling is unique, and there’s 100 of them to find. Completing levels, hidden levels or finishing achievements will each unlock one. There’s some really fun and cool characters here, which makes collecting them all something worth doing.
The game manages to give them a personality without them really saying or doing anything. You can play as a donut, an aeroplane, a boar, or various one eyed, no eyed and hideously cute monsters. You’ll want to unlock them all just so you can see what they all look like, and you won’t be disappointed when you do.
The great designs of the Spitlings is really well complemented by the colours and sounds in the game as well. A bouncy upbeat soundtrack throughout makes your journey a more than enjoyable experience, and thoroughly reflects the gameplay you’re experiencing. The ability to change the colour of the backgrounds in the levels also means more opportunity for you to mix things up, and there’s some really great colour combinations offered to you. With an editor mode incoming to the game as well, it looks like there will be even more opportunity in the future to change things about in the game to your liking.
From the outside, Spitlings look like a cute and cuddly multiplayer game, whereas in fact the intricacies of actually completing the levels and unlocking everything are a lot more complicated. It’s great on your own, but more fun and interesting with friends, and is as enjoyable as it is infuriating.
A Switch code for Spitlings was provided by PR for the purposes of this review.
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It’s hard not to recommend this game when it looks, sounds and plays as well as it does. With only minor things to complain about, Spitlings definitely won’t have you spitting feathers.
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