The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Spare Parts is a great example of how likeable characters can’t salvage a
game by themselves. The humanoid robots are silent, but they’re
expressive in a Wall-E kind of way. Even the game’s enemies are
adorable, whether they’re the short, squat armored aliens or a planet’s
assorted indigenous bugs and monkey creatures. Whatever goodwill those
characters earned, however, is squandered through Spare Parts’
Spare Parts focuses on the robots and their mission to escape a hostile
planet. The planet’s native lifeforms are hostile enough, but to make
matters worse it’s marked for invasion by the evil Lord Krung, a squat
little creature in a suit of space armor. The bots’ only hope is to
repair an abandoned spaceship using parts strewn across its surface.
Fortunately, the ship’s friendly AI is there to help.
Spare Parts make take place on an alien planet, but the gameplay is
familiar. When you first start out, your character can perform a few
basic attacks and jump around the world. Eventually you earn robotic
upgrades, which open up new areas. For instance, magnetic boots allow
you to climb up certain wall surfaces, jet boots let you hover for a
short time, and nanite gloves allow you to flip special switches.
Obstacles are scattered around the world whether or not you have the
appropriate hardware solution, giving completionists a reason to
backtrack to earlier levels and discover every last missing part.
While the game is billed as being a cooperative experience, it’s purely
optional. There’s no AI companion while playing the game solo, and lone
wolf types will only be missing out on a few co-op style puzzles of the
“two people stand on two switches” variety.
Spare Parts is undoubtedly a charming game, but there are some
significant problems beneath its candy-colored veneer. Platforming
sections are awful, as it’s difficult to reliably tell where your
character will be landing. The fixed camera exaggerates the issue, since
you can’t line up your jumps before leaping. Instead, certain sections
have you relying on a blend of instinct and dumb luck.
Boss battles are repetitive and last entirely too long. Most of them
have you doing the same dull sequence of events over and over as enemies
respawn around you. Your bots have an unlimited number of lives and
there’s only a trivial penalty for death, so the real question is if you
have the patience to endure your way to the end.
As disappointing as Spare Parts is, I hope that we do see the characters again. They deserve to be in a better game.
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.