Genre(s): Action, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 14/07/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
Surprisingly Simple Premise
Spidersaurs is a run-and-gun shooter where I faced off against hordes of enemies as one of two newly hired interns. Is this adventure a blast from the past? Or is it outdated? Find out in this Rapid Review.
As I began my adventure, I learned more about the corporation I was working for and the potentially shady practices they partake in. I familiarized myself with a few workers there as well as my interns, but I never learned anything that revolutionized my experience. The characters and plotline were charming, but the story never left a lasting impact on me.
While the story did not change my experience much, I got to enjoy voice acting for every line of dialogue. This added a lot to the overall sense of quality in the game, even though the story was not the most important part. Even within a level, the dialogue was audibly spoken, helping to keep me immersed in the game without reading extensive amounts of text.
Even though the included story elements did not leave a major impact on my experience, I did not expect a substantial experience. Overall, I enjoyed the basic story available in Spidersaurs.
In addition to the story content, Spidersaurs features traditional run-and-gun gameplay with a simple twist. Defeating boss enemies grant my characters new abilities. Unfortunately, before even obtaining my first upgrade, I noticed how slow my movement was. It seemed like my character was made slower initially to compensate for inbound upgrades. While games typically begin with an underpowered main character, many of the upgrades I was awarded felt unnecessarily stripped from my character. Since I did not unlock my dashing ability until defeating the fourth boss, my character felt too slow for two-thirds of the game. Although I enjoyed unlocking new abilities, some of the abilities I did unlock seemed like quality-of-life features rather than actual upgrades. At the same time, my main issue with the pacing could have been avoided by awarding the dash ability sooner.
Though my character’s initial speed contributed to my disappointment in the game’s pacing, I also noticed that enemies occasionally spawn endlessly or appear in places that are difficult to target. While none of this felt unfair, I found myself spending a lot of time needlessly killing enemies to make sure I did not take any damage. The enemy placements and consistently spawning enemies made me trudge through stages instead of rushing through them. This was not innately an issue, as I did enjoy this methodical gameplay. However, the trickily placed enemies combine with the slow movements of the base character to create a more slow-paced experience.
On the other hand, the levels themselves were a lot of fun to explore. While none of the six locales were wholly unique, I enjoyed exploring in Spidersaurs. Whether I was climbing a volcano, exploring a forest, or navigating a cave, the locales were distinct and interesting. There were a lot of distinct zones within each stage to differentiate each one as well. There were sections where I rode a moving platform through lava in a volcano, a section where I rode on the back of a dinosaur fighting off enemies, and the game consistently alternated between vertical and horizontal sections. Each location was memorable and fun to traverse.
One of the major parts of these levels is the enemies. While I enjoyed many of them, there were also just as many frustrating parts about them. First, many of the same enemies were used throughout each of the levels. Though there is no requirement for a game to have unique enemies in each zone, it would have further emphasized the differences between the locales and gave the game a stronger identity.
Second, there seemed to be an inconsistency with shooting through walls. There is one weapon that allows my character to shoot at enemies through walls but otherwise, I am unable to phase through them. Many enemies on the other hand can freely shoot through walls, giving them a substantial advantage. This contradiction was a little bit frustrating, but again, I never felt the enemies were unfair or overly difficult. Finally, when some enemies die, they leave residual damage in an area for a couple of seconds further slowing down the pace of the gameplay. While I liked the enemies, there were a lot of frustrating elements that coupled with the slow initial movement speed to incentivize cautious play.
Big Bad Boss
Despite some pacing issues with the minor enemies, I thoroughly enjoyed the boss fights. Not only were these enemies ferocious and difficult, but they were vulnerable throughout the fight. I never had to wait for them to get into position and they perfectly fell in line with the themes of the game. They would often require the use of newfound abilities as well, further pushing me to master my mechanics. The boss fights were a lot of fun.
Another mechanic I really enjoyed was how the weapon system worked. I could carry two weapons with me. By default, I had an automatic machine gun however I could collect different ones throughout the stage. This was simple, but it was expanded with one simple mechanic. If I collected two of the same weapons, I could upgrade them. However, if I took damage while it was upgraded, it would revert to the normal weapon. I liked this, as it once again encouraged careful play, albeit this time with a substantial reward.
Moreover, the weapons themselves were a lot of fun to use. There were rocket launchers, flamethrowers, and even a traditional shotgun. I had a lot of fun selecting which weapons to use, even when sometimes I had no choice and could only use the weapon I found on the ground. The available weapons also fluctuated depending on the character I selected, adding yet another level of strategy to Spidersaurs. The weapons felt good to use and they were rewarding to strategize around.
Take me With You
This game also features cooperative play which does function relatively well. Performance-wise, it is stunning, running just as well as the single-player mode. Unfortunately, the screen does not expand enough for two players. Specifically, in the vertical segments, I kept taking unnecessary damage because using certain abilities would automatically send one player so high that the other would take damage. Even the horizontal sections were difficult to navigate because the screen would approach the front player too quickly. While there is a lot of potential here, I did not end up having as much fun as I initially thought I would because sometimes taking damage does not feel justified.
While the majority of my playthrough was bug-free, the last section started giving me some trouble. Most importantly, it is impossible to play through the final level after dying. Restarting the level left me at a black screen instead of the level itself. This is a huge issue, as that is practically one-sixth of the game. Additionally, the game crashed on me once. Though my overall experience in terms of bugs and glitches was relatively low, these issues cannot be ignored, especially at the price point.
While these bugs are frustrating to deal with, the Spidersaurs in the game intentionally are quite cute. The enemies look good, the backgrounds are distinct, and my main character is bright and stands out.
Similarly, I enjoyed the music and sound effects. The music amped me up, getting me ready for the ensuing battles and the sound effects built off that, rewarding me for taking out enemies and highlighting my main characters.
All in all, I did enjoy my time with Spidersaurs. Unfortunately, the consistently slow pacing coupled with various issues makes me hesitant to recommend it. Plus, despite the slow pace I took, it still only took two and half hours to complete. I do expect Wayforward to fix the bugs, but even if they do, I am not rushing to recommend this game.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can purchase Spidersaurs on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.