Spoids (Second Chance with the Chick)
June 26, 2012 3 Comments
I reviewed Spoids back in April and it aggravated the ever-loving shit out of me so much that I wrote an editorial on game difficulty in part because of it. Well, Spoids is back, all patched up and ready to kick your ass some more. Why? Because all the changes implemented are so miniscule in their scope that you’ll hardly notice them. Since I had a fairly big list of complaints last time, I’ll do what I’ve done in the past and go over every concern one by one.
Original: The enemies are too bullet-spongy.
New Build: The enemies are still too bullet-spongy. I can spam whole sections of the board with all sorts of firepower and the fuckers still can walk through entire hallways with minimal damage. The bosses are allegedly less tough, but it doesn’t really seem that way in practice. The bosses that unleash five extremely fast-moving enemies when they die are still able to absorb entire rows of gunfire without so much as blinking. They’re usually pretty close to an exit when they die, leaving no time for your defenses to stand a reasonable chance at stopping half the shit they drop, no matter how many things you put to slow stuff down. Speaking of which, the slowdown stuff is ironically too slow to activate. When the fast-moving “zoomers” show up, they often cruise a few spaces past the slow-down-thingies before they actually do yield. We call this “Getting a Yellow Light in California Syndrome.”
Original: The flying enemies and their associated tower are way unbalanced.
New Build: Efforts were made to fix this, but they failed. The only tower that attacks flying creatures is the Homing Missile. Before, they cost $125 a unit, which was way overpriced for a tower that is useless against the vast, vast, vast majority of enemies. The guys at AirWave took this advice to heart and discounted the tower that is useless against most of the enemies and slow to react to the ones it is effective against to a generous $110. Gee, thanks guys. Meanwhile, you still need to occasionally couple them with radar towers, which cost $50. So the discount you gave us isn’t even enough to make a down payment on one of those. Hell, it’s barely a third of the cost of the weakest offensive tower in the game. Why not just suck the fillings out of my teeth while you’re at it?
Meanwhile, the flying guys are allegedly weaker and attack less frequently. I will admit that the flyers are slightly more tolerable, but they still are overpowered compared to the price and effectiveness of the towers that can attack them. A problem with Spoids in general is the important, single-functional towers are slow to react to everything. The radar stuff takes too long to make the invisible enemies visible. The slow-down stuff takes too long to slow down the zoomers. The missiles take too long to fire on the flyers, and they don’t put out enough bullets or fire often enough. I once again spammed entire sections of the screen with the worthless-against-99%-of-the-enemies missile towers and radar and still had entire strings of flyers just shrug them off and cause damage.
Original: Money doesn’t accumulate fast enough.
New Build: It still doesn’t. In a game that has so many enemies that require special, non-offensive towers just to open up their vulnerability, you really don’t get enough resources in Spoids. In the stages where enemies hit you from two different starting points, you often have to pick and choose which side to “let go of” and hope you can catch up later. You often can’t. When guys who phase in and out of view are around, you have to set up radar towers, which are costly and don’t fire. The phasers are every bit as spongy as everything else, so you often have to set up multiple towers just to pick off the front line. When the zoomers come in, not only do they take more damage to kill than Jason Voorhees but they run faster than your towers can shoot. To have a chance, you have to put the slowdown towers in, but they come at a cost of $100. However, their range of effectiveness is small and they don’t activate fast enough, meaning that most of them will receive minimal damage. You have to cover every corner with the slow-down-thingies, but if you do that you won’t have the money for guns. It sucks that the tougher enemies don’t pay in proportion to how much they cost to kill.
Original: The game cost 240 Microsoft Points.
New Build: The game costs 80 Microsoft Points. Thus I now feel comfortable recommending Spoids. For all of its faults, and those faults are massive, Spoids is every bit as fun and addictive as tower defense games can be. If you’re into these things, that is. Haters of the genre won’t be converted by it. But, I liked it. Don’t get me wrong, if I ever encounter the developers I might give this whole “strangle a fellow human being” thing a test drive, but it will be because I liked the game. Just not as much as I could have. AirWave Games has talent. I just wish the next time they say they’re going to fix a game, they do more than drop the price. Which was admittedly enough to sway me to say “okay, it’s worth buying” but that’s not the point. I’m not even sure if the game is better. I did beat it this time, but it still took me over a dozen tries to finish the 8th and final stage. After that many tries, you don’t feel a sense of satisfaction. You feel a sense of “thank Christ I don’t have to start all over with it again.” Games should never leave you feeling that. Ever. They’re entertainment, not dental surgery. Still, Spoids is one of the most polished looking games on the market, and it’s very playable. And it’s made by some really cool developers whose necks I’m hoping will be very wringable.