A small, spiky ball type object becomes the hero in this Chillingo iOS offering.
You have to feel for Spoing. As if being a small, spiky ball type object were not bad enough, the Rainbow Diamonds have been stolen whilst Spoing was guarding them as a favour to a friend. He shouldn’t blame himself though, as before they were stolen a mysterious mist arose and sent Spoing to sleep. Besides, without the theft of the Rainbow Diamonds, we wouldn’t have any reason to start trekking through the caverns, would we?
So yeah, the story, for what it’s worth, is that Spoing must try to track down the Rainbow Diamond thief by travelling from one cavern to the next, enlisting the help of friends and finding dropped Rainbow Diamonds. Each level begins with Spoing on an elastic platform and the player must then negotiate the cavern by launching Spoing from one of these platforms to the next, until reaching the Rainbow Diamond.
The player will occasionally come across green gems that can be collected and used to make temporary platforms, bridging the larger distances. Spoing is not alone in the caverns and must negotiate them whilst avoiding both the other creatures that live there and the dangerous walls. One badly calculated jump and it is back to the most recent progress point.
And so the player works from one cavern to the next across the games 50 levels. But it is not as simple as just completing each level, the player also has to do it in a decent time. The player is rewarded for each completed level with experience and a number of blue gems depending on their time. Every 10 levels the player will come to a point where they will have to have achieved a certain level and have collected a certain number of blue gems in order to proceed. Not enough of either? Then the player will have to go back and try to get better times before unlocking the next batch of levels.
From a visual point of view, the game is nice to look at. It has a minimalistic style with the foreground all presented in black, similar to the style of the Patapon games. The backgrounds are given a psychedelic, slightly trippy look. The game also comes with four different audio tracks that the player can choose from, or support for the players own music.
The game does suffer from a slight lack of variety, both in the gameplay and the environments. After working through the first few levels, the player will have pretty much seen all that the game has to offer. The levels themselves are very similar to look at, varying only in their layout. There is also a very choppy difficulty curve, with the player following incredibly difficult levels with relatively straight forward ones.
None of this really detracts from the enjoyment though. With 50 levels and the need to go back and get better times, there is plenty to keep the player coming back. As always, the quick-hit games work best on the iOS platform, and Spoing fits happily into that category being best played in small bursts.
Spoing looks good, plays well and offers a decent amount of challenge. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Just because it is a tin of spaghetti rather than a full gourmet meal, doesn’t mean it should be overlooked on the app store. If you fancy a quick snack, spaghetti on toast is quite often the better choice.
Spoing is available on the App Store for iPhone at 59p and for iPad at £1.19