Spoiler Alert Review: To the end and back
Spoiler Alert's allure isn't something that's never been done in video gaming. Games like Retro/Grade have done the whole 'play the game backwards' motif before. With that said, Spoiler Alert does provide an entertaining, albeit extremely short platforming experience where timing is everything.
The game starts off by having you witness the hero -- a red chili pepper armed with a knight's helmet -- defeating the last boss and rescuing the Princess. Roll credits! Of course, that's where the actual game starts. Everything then starts to rewind and you're forced to take your chili pepper hero from the very end of the game, all the way back to the beginning.
Spoiler Alert relies on time paradoxes to keep things interesting. You have zero control over your character as far as running goes. The only input you'll have is the jump button and the occasional power-up. The game relies on making sure you undo everything you've done, while trying to avoid doing things you haven't.
For example, one screen will have you run backwards toward a dead enemy and then right after him an alive enemy. Your goal is to hop on the dead enemy to undo the action of you killing him, but then hop over the alive enemy, since the hero never actually killed him in the first place. If you had jumped on the enemy that was alive, it would cause a time paradox and send you back to the beginning of that section. The same principle applies to coins and power ups. Faded coins means they've been previous picked up so they have to be un-picked up again, while solid coins need to be avoided.
It's a fun idea that unfortunately ends just as the difficulty starts to ramp up. There are only three worlds in the whole game, and the only stages that I legitimately had to try a few times before I finally got them were the end stages for each of the worlds. When I played them, I was unaware that they were the last level, and I was excited to see what would come after. I was quick to find out that I was off to a new world where the stages would be stupidly easy.
Even the bosses were somewhat of a missed opportunity. Instead of playing around with the idea of constantly moving backwards and presenting a higher challenge in trying to undo the damage you've caused, it boils down to a heavily scripted battle that relies on using very specific moves for each boss, throwing creativity out of the window.
After you finish the three worlds, you also get access to a bonus, slightly more difficult world, though with an even smaller stage count. I completed the entire game in about 50 minutes, so if length is something that would bother you for a $7.99 price tag, then you're better off staying away.
The game also includes a level editor, which does allow you to create some pretty sweet designs. However, they're once again limited by being extremely short. The template for a Large level is about 17 seconds long. Its redeeming factor is that these levels can be published to the Steam Workshop, allowing other players to try out your devious levels and vice versa.
Spoiler Alert is a fun title that's limited by its length, and by its lack of daring innovation. The devs played it safe where they should have taken risks. If you do see this title on sale though, it's worth a go.