E3 2012: Alien Spidy hands-on
One of the most charming games we got to check out during our first day on the show floor at E3 was Alien Spidy. The game is a downloadable 2D platformer with a great visual style. Developer Kalypso informed us that Alien Spidy will feature 70 levels, most of which will sport interactive areas that warrant exploration and the collection of over 300 treasures.
Gameplay consists of using the titular spider's web to swing over gaps, water, thorns, and other dangers. The game offers twin-stick controls: the spider protagonist is controlled with the left analog stick while the right stick shoots out webs to swing around, climb up, and slide down.
Alien Spidy is a one-hit kill type of game, so you constantly need to be alert of the obstacles that lie ahead of you. The game actually caught us by surprise, and it was a lot more challenging than we expected. It was a satisfying toughness, though, and like our friendly Kalypso rep told us, it's the type of challenge that kicks your rear end, but once you tackle that punishing level, you'll get a rewarding sense of accomplishment.
To put it into perspective, we were playing an underwater level where we had to guide the spider protagonist toward protective bubbles. The tricky thing was getting through a log that was covering our only way out of the water. After several tries, we just couldn't figure it out. But GameZone's own Lance Liebl continued trying until he accidentally moved a boulder into a jet stream which propelled it up into the log, effectively breaking it and opening the road ahead. Lance got a collective applause from the folks at Kalypso, and you better believe it was well-deserved.
Visually, Alien Spidy looks magnificent. Foregrounds feature a black silhouette-like style while backgrounds are nicely colored and include a variety of hues. The game's hero is also full of life, and we noticed that he even has some idle animations, something we just think is really cool. Remember when characters would do things if you left the controller alone for a while? Good times!
While the difficulty in Alien Spidy is pretty high (and pleasantly old school), there are power-ups to aid you. We checked out a super jump ability that helped our character get to hard-to-reach areas. Additionally, there are checkpoints scattered throughout the levels, so if you die, it's not necessarily back to the start. Thank goodness for that!
Alien Spidy is a single-player affair, but there will be achievements and online leaderboards to keep players engaged. And as previously mentioned, there will be hundreds of collectibles that should keep completionists busy for a long time. Watch out for this endearing downloadable platformer when it hits Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC sometime around mid-August.
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