Title: Spirit Roots
Developer: Fireart Games
Publisher: Drageus Games
Genre: Platformer, Adventure, Action, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 1/11/2019
Price: £ – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
The story in Spirit Roots is about a terrible war that has lasted a hundred years between two warring planets, however, this war has eventually come to end.
The remains of these two planets destroyed over years of conflict have been stitched together to create a larger planet, and a treaty was put together to stop the conflict once and for all between the warring factions.
All factions agreed to never cross the borders that separated them and with that, the war was over. Peace was restored for a while, until…someone broke the rules. Chaos tore the world apart once more.
Keep It Simple
Spirit Roots is what I would call a very safe platformer that really doesn’t do anything to push the genre to new heights. What we have here is a mobile game that been ported directly to the Nintendo Switch.
Spirit Roots has over 5 worlds with over 50 levels to run, double jump, shoot, and slash your way through. Each world has its own unique theme and enemies that will try and thwart your progress, plus a boss encounter waiting at the end.
You’re going to be collecting a lot of yellow souls that are scattered all over each level. Some are in plain sight while others are locked away in hidden cages that you must seek out. To achieve 100% level completion, you’ll need to find all of these souls before leaving a level. You can just run through the entire level if you want to though but the main focus here is collecting everything to receive a 3-star rating at the end of each level.
You can move left to right with the analogue stick and jump with the B button, pressing it again in the air to do a double jump. You can use your buster sword with the A button, shoot your blaster with the Y button and that’s pretty much it.
Two’s A Company
Each world has two enemy types: one that can launch projectiles at you and an enemy that has a rotating shield. These enemies can only be killed in certain ways. For example, projectile enemies can be killed with your sword but it isn’t always advised as there’s a delay in your sword attack that can leave you vulnerable. Therefore, I’d advise you to use your blaster which is a lot safer and it keeps you at a safer distance from the ranged attacks.
There are also enemies that have rotating shields around them and can only be killed with your buster sword however the hit detection is a little spotty with the sword, leading you to few deaths as your character moves forward slightly every time he uses his sword. This can also lead you to sometimes touching an enemy which causes you to die instantly. At this point, you’ll be sent back to a previous checkpoint if you’ve passed one or straight back to the beginning of level which can get annoying.
While there is some variety in enemy designs in each world, I found it a little bit repetitive as all enemies are just re-skins and have the same projectile attack or shield that you’ll have to either shoot or slash. The combat works but it isn’t very satisfying to do.
Apart from enemies, there are other mechanics that try to keep you invested like moving platforms, breakable walls, switches to open locked doors or some challenging platforming sections that require quick reflexes to dodge saw blades and other death traps. There are even some quirky mechanics such as finding a green bean, planting it into marked patches of land to grow a large tree to get to higher places – it is nothing ground-breaking but at least it’s something.
Thankfully, boss encounters are a lot more engaging and can be quite challenging to beat. The first boss took me a little while to take down. I was fighting a couple of farmers driving a beat-up truck when one of them was firing corncobs out of a rusty Gatling gun. As each part of the boss bar depletes, the enemy changes its attack patterns. You’ll have to try new tactics to damage it and avoid attacks. There are various different bosses to fight such as massive scorpions, spiders each having their own looks and attacks. I found these sections required a little pattern recognition knowing when to attack, or when to dodge incoming attacks.
The game does look quite nice in motion or in animation, however, the bosses look quite good too. The game reminds me a little of Rayman Legends right down to the collecting aspect and the yellow souls in Spirit Roots remained me a lot of Lums from Rayman Legends… obviously Spirit Roots is nowhere near as good as the latter, but it’s an okay platformer for a younger audience.
Unfortunately, Spirit Roots falls short in a number of areas. There is a lack of variety in each level and a lack of any real sense of urgency. The introductory element sounds quite epic and does well to make out that this has been an on-going war and now something is happening again… but there’s no urgency here!
Play It Safe
The game can be enjoyable for the right crowd but I found it a little too safe when comparing it to games such as Yooka Laylee Impossible Lair, Rayman Legends or Celeste. These games push the boundaries of the platforming genre and add new ways to play. In stark contrast, Spirit Roots doesn’t do anything new and exciting and it keeps the standard platformer formula in check. I mean if it’s not broke, why fix it? Well, these days games are constantly pushing the envelope for new experiences and I just feel Spirit Roots plays it too safe to be worth picking up.
The graphics in Spirit Roots do look cheerful and playful with its bright and vivid colour palette. The music is quite whimsical and fantasy-like, and everything looks nice enough on a big screen, or in handheld mode.
Spirit Roots is an okay platformer with lots to collect, and 50 levels including boss battles to fight through. But with so many more interesting titles already available on the Nintendo Switch, Spirit Roots just doesn’t cut the mustard.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Spirit Roots from the Nintendo eShop at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Spirit-Roots-1662983.html#gameDetails