Spheroids

Destroying Giant Bouncing Aliens In Spheroids

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Reminiscent of Super Mario Bros, Spheroids is a 2D platform game where a Canadian boy named Lucas must save the cubic world against the invasion of alien Spheroids from an alternative universe. They are as the name sounds, giant floating bouncing spheres with one eye and a mouth. How does Lucas defeat these aliens? He must take them out with a grappling hooks.  With the help of a scientist named Otto who discovered the alternative universes the government was hiding, Lucas must bounce his way through the world destroying the Spheroids.

Spheroids and Lucas
Lucas with a Spheroid and a transporter.

Going through the different levels the game feels a lot like elements of Johnny Quest, Futurama, Scott Pilgrim, and a bit of Rick and Morty.   It’s an odd Sci-fi themed game that can actually become addictive and offers a challenge.  Bizarre but fun.

There are some good elements of this game with a few small  quirks.  For the most part the game is fun and crazy with an addictive quality. However, there are times that the game didn’t quite work.  Mostly the controls didn’t always respond and there seemed to be a lack of health for Lucas and I ended up with a pile of dead Lucas bodies.

Let us look at the best parts first. The thing I liked was the side-scrolling and platform based gameplay. It brought back memories of playing Super Mario Bros, which was nice. I always loved those type of games, they were simple, fun, yet could prove a challenge, and this game had its fair share of challenges.

Powerups
The power ups screen

The challenges come from the gameplay and defeating the alien spheres.  To defeat them you need to use grappling hooks. At the beginning you receive one hook but as you progress through the maps new power-ups and upgrades become available. Just find the arcades and keep collecting currency. At the arcade you can get things like more life, extra shields, or even upgrade to duel grappling hooks. Also, destroying the spheroids can drop loot like dynamite

Power Ups arcade
Power ups arcade

When Lucas comes across a Spheroid he can launch his grappling hook and puncture the Spheroid. However, that does not kill the alien, it just makes two smaller versions of the Spheroid. Piercing those creates two bouncing eyes. The eyes are the worst as they are small and move fast while zapping health. These eyes can be vanquished by just touching the metal tether of the grappling hook. Timing is crucial unless you want to become a dead body on the ground.

Grappling hook
Grappling hook and a Spheroid

Beyond that the game provides some obstacles like jumping on platforms, brick walls, and doors. The doors are opened by triggering buttons with the hooks. Most of the time the hooks go up, but there will be times when players need to launch the grappling hook downward. At times this becomes difficult because you have to jump, press down, and launch the grappling hook. Unfortunately, the controls are not always responsive and can take some practice to get the hang of this or just press the controls and hope that it works.

Further exploring the gameplay we get to the transporters. They act as checkpoints and respawn locations. It’s just a glass box that looks like it fills with a liquid and then Lucas appears. This is a checkpoint but will not save the game at this spot. When quitting, the game restarts from the beginning of the current map.

The graphics are what you would expect for this type of game, with unique characters and scenery.  Lucas is a bouncy guy with a trapper hat. I do like the design of the Spheroids the best and the scenery with trees like the cherry blossoms and grass mixed with brick walls and floating islands. Then in the middle of everything a random arcade that allows you to upgrade. Let’s not forget about Otto’s lab at the beginning of missions.  Here you get a short tutorial and the dialogue between Otto and Lucas using text bubbles. Although, I thought the dialogue went too fast and I ended up missing some of the conversation.

As for the music, its funky digital with parts that sounded like Super Mario met the Lion King.

Dead Lucas
Lucas among a pile of dead Lucas corpses.

Now the issues begin with the lack of life, at least at the start until upgrades can be purchased. It just seems to take very little for the Spheroids to kill Lucas. At least it gives the player a motive to master the gameplay, if you can get the hang of the grappling hook you are good. As for the grappling hook,  it’s just launching the hook and hoping that you pierce a Spheroid or get it in their path.

Other than that the part I am most annoyed with is the pile of Lucas bodies left when the aliens get him. However, it does motivate you not to die. Poor Lucas, he has to run around looking at his dead self.

In all this game does what it is intended to do and that is it to give players a fun quirky 2D platformer. Even with some downsides I found Spheroids to be fun and addictive. Its something different with unique characters and enemies. I am not overly thrilled about the grappling hooks as weapons, still more of a gun  or melee type gamer. If you are in the market for something different and looking for a 2D platformer I would recommend checking out Spheroids.

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