Developer: Playful Pasta
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Arcade, Simulation
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Also available on PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 16/12/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Tagliatelle Me A Story…
If you’ve been to university, the chances are that at one point, pasta was your go-to base for a cheap meal. Even now, the versatility of pasta makes it an ever-present food item in my home, and to see a game created entirely about a sentient piece of spaghetti therefore intrigued me. Freddy Spaghetti follows Freddy as he comes to terms with his reality as a living piece of pasta, and documents the havoc he causes in the past, present, and future. Dr. P Starr soon comes to regret his actions in creating Freddy, and endeavours to stop him before it’s too late to save humanity.
Freddy Spaghetti is a physics-based platformer, with the goal of each level being to reach the portal at its end. Many levels are straightforward, requiring the player to go from point A to point B, while others involve being chased by police, Frogger-style obstacle dodging, leaping through the air, or completing unique actions in order to trigger the next stage – such as destroying all of the fire hydrants in a street. Each end of Freddy is independently controlled using the left and right bumpers or triggers, while his general direction of movement is dictated by tilting the left analogue stick. Holding to move will result in higher or further leaps, depending on the supplied directional input.
One Small Step for Noodle
The story of Freddy Spaghetti, much like its gameplay, is quite frankly ridiculous. The idea that a sentient piece of pasta could cause so much havoc is perhaps unlikely, but at the same time, an unknowable possibility. The variety of level designs make for an interesting mix of easy and challenging tasks for players to complete. I found myself stuck on particular levels for a while, not quite able to overcome the obstacles I was facing, while on others I breezed through them on my first attempt. The piano and keyboard levels were particularly time-consuming to complete, due to the inability to accurately and efficiently target Freddy’s limbs at the correct buttons needed, but were perhaps some of the most rewarding to finish due to this. Others – like the dining room example in the image below – were just plain fun, involving causing good old-fashioned chaos.
Something that really holds Freddy Spaghetti back though is its control scheme. Though quite simplistic, I found myself endlessly confused as to which end of Freddy I was moving, even with the on-screen UI visible which colour-codes these with yellow and green dots. I was left wishing that Freddy could have been controlled in the same way as in PHOGS! from Coatsink Software, where the double-ended doggo duo of Red and Blue are controlled using a twin-stick format. This would have made the movements much more fluid and less of a struggle. Additionally, the need to spam the bumpers or triggers to move Freddy caused prominent discomfort over time. In addition to hand cramp, my wrists also began to ache, and as such, I would never recommend this game to anyone with conditions such as arthritis.
Pasta Its Sell-By Date
The graphics of Freddy Spaghetti are fairly basic but are well-stylised. Each zone of the game has its own unique look and feel, with levels that seem appropriate for their context, such as floating hover platforms in the future. At any time, it isn’t difficult to spot Freddy, though at points you may be left wishing he was slightly larger. This would help in order to better-understand which end of him you are moving. However, in the more complex levels – or those with extended platforming segments – the camera angles used are often problematic. It is difficult to judge the distances between platforms or exactly where they overlap, making the more exaggerated movements of Freddy even more difficult to control. Knowing how long to hold the bumpers or triggers for becomes a chore, and you die a lot in the process of figuring this out.
The soundtrack of Freddy Spaghetti is harmonious enough to not be intrusive and is actually quite enjoyable to listen to. There are a variety of backing tracks to support individual levels and each zone, as well as levels that involve you being able to make the sounds for yourself, such as the piano levels. The exertion sounds of Freddy and his gleeful audio cues are funny, though repetitive. The voiceover of Dr P Starr, who narrates all of Freddy’s antics as they unfold, is well-done. It is serious where it needs to be, and humorous at other points. However, some of the jokes do feel forced. At times, there is also an absence of narration when it feels necessary. It would have been helpful on several levels to have a greater sense of direction, as it was unclear where to go or what to do.
Spaghetti Me Outta Here
Freddy Spaghetti is a very short game, lasting for around 2-3 hours if playing each of the 50 levels consecutively. Each of the five zones consists of ten levels, with an additional four bonus levels also available to try from the main menu if desired. These are unlocked through completing the different story zones. The ending of Freddy Spaghetti is admittedly a little bit of a let down; to see Freddy thwarted, rather than victorious, is disappointing after spending so long trying to cause chaos. Nevertheless, it ties the game together and cements it as one probably not worth a second playthrough in the future. The story is weird, but forgettable, and therefore lacks replay value. Perhaps the only value in a second playthrough would be for trophy hunters, who could stack the PS5 version on their accounts to earn the 56 trophies for game completion again.
To conclude, Freddy Spaghetti isn’t a game I can easily recommend. Though it does sport variety in its level design, and its story has humour, the controls make it a frustrating game to play and the “chase” levels especially are even physically painful to get through with the amount of button-spamming needed. If you’re looking for a quick game to dive into from time-to-time, or want some easy trophies, this may be for you – but for me, just like for Dr. P Starr, meeting Freddy was largely a regrettable experience. As such, I’d save your pennes for a game more worthy of your time.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Freddy Spaghetti for PlayStation 4 from the following link: PlayStation Store (UK)
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.