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XBLIG Review – Spiders! Why did it have to be spiders?

xboxboxart (1) Do you really hate spiders. I mean, REALLY hate spiders. Not creeped out by them like you’re doing to run screaming every time you see even a Daddy Long Legs … I mean hate them to the point that you want to kill every last one of them until the Earth is devoid of the damn things. Where they’re in hiding below the ground to avoid the wrath of your boot to eventually mutate and evolve under there and kill us all. Then this game is for you, because that what you’re going to be doing. Killing spiders. Lots of them. With a machine gun. Only these spiders are as big as you are and can kill you within a few seconds. This game plays out a little bit like an overhead version of a previous Xbox indie game called Jonny Crush, just without the variety in enemies, weapons, environments and polygons. Not to say that’s a BAD thing of course. Spiders! has all the basic elements needed to be a good top down, dual stick shooter. And isn’t a bad game per-say, it just doesn’t go beyond those basic elements to make something special.

screen1_Web You’re a Rambo kinda dude with a machine gun going through an environment killing every spider in sight. There is no story because, well, arcade style games like this don’t need a story. Just insert one for yourself. Spiders come out of holes, you shoot them, you eventually come across a boss that shoots BACK that takes more hits than the normal ones and you proceed to the next level where you do it all over again, only with more spiders. Near as I can tell looking at the global high score list (yes, this game ACTUALLY has one) Spiders! is a lot like the games of old where you just go through wave after wave until you inevitably die … more than likely due to a whole bunch of the common spiders gangraping you than the end level boss. That’s it.

screen2_Web Graphically, it gets its point across well enough, but nothing seems to have a whole lot of detail. The environment is huge and pretty much empty save for the holes the spiders come out of and the various spider guts of downed enemies. The animation is almost nil because, well, honestly you don’t need a lot of animation for spiders scurrying across the ground. The sound is about like the graphics. They’re not all that great, but they’re totally serviceable with the music being the coolest out of the bunch with a big, epic theme. There isn’t anything exceptional about the presentation, but it gets the job done.

screen3_Web The gameplay is what you would expect from a dual stick shooter. You move around with one stick, you aim with the other. For whatever reason though, you have to pull the right trigger to actually SHOOT … which looking it after I’ve typed it out it makes perfect sense. But I’ve never understood the need for that. Games like Robotron 2084 and Smash T.V. started the genre and you don’t need to pull a trigger to shoot. You just point and shoot. Sure, you don’t have infinite ammo, but it’s plentiful enough throughout the game with it’s random drops of various ammo boxes with different amounts of bullets and health … including something that looks like a syringe, I’m going to assume that’s an adrenaline shot. And there’s a lightning bolt pickup that speeds you up considerably … but it doesn’t seem to last long enough to make a difference either way. And you only have one weapon out of all this, which is the biggest downside. You have your machine gun. That’s it. You can get a powerup that increases the rate of fire, but in the end, it’s the same weapon throughout the entire game.

screen4_Web 6.0 – The game plays just fine, and although the presentation is a tad lackluster, it is fun to play this in bursts and the global high score table is a DEFINITE plus that so many other indie games on the 360 miss the mark on. But, on that note, the game is repetitive since you’re seeing the same background and the same enemies over and over again with only one gun. There, unfortunately, isn’t any multiplayer, which knocks it down yet again. But there is definitely enough here to keep me coming back to it from time to time just to go on a spider genocide. I just wish I could blow the sons of a bitches up as well.

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