Review by Cordia, Nov. 4, 2010
Spandex Force was developed by KarjaSoft, who also developed a game called Wildhollow. I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds entertaining. Sometime in the next few weeks they are also slated to release a sequel to Spandex Force, which makes me extremely happy, even if there is one change that I want to whine about.
Spandex Force is primarily a match-3 game with a pretty solid secondary role playing game element to it. It is infused with a sly, clever wit. The game is written to poke fun at the comic book superhero stereotypes and if you don’t read the dialogue, you’re missing out on some great humor.
This game has a few interesting versions of the match-3 puzzles. Oh, sure, it has the standard “swap to match” puzzles, and they are a large part of the role-playing element, but I will get to those in just a bit. You begin with a simplistic overhead view of a small urban landscape, and people walk around, and your tower/lair-like thing is in the middle. When you begin, you are not well known, so your tower doesn’t have full range. The range is the area in which you can detect emergencies and crimes. When somebody gets distressed, they have a coloured cloud around their feet and wave their hands. The color denotes what kind of emergency it is, but I couldn’t ever remember, so I relied on the dialogue box when I flew to their rescue. It says something like “My poor kitty is stuck in a tree! Please help her get down!” or “There’s a little old lady about to get run over by a speeding maniac!” and others.
My favourite type is the “My cat has run away, you must chase after her!” scenario. I hated it initially, because I wasn’t sure how to get what I needed. The set up is very much like “Guitar Hero” but instead of hitting every “note” as they race towards you, the goal is to make chains (of three or more) of matching symbols from the regular match-3 games. You achieve this by using a sliding “bar” (it’s not a bar, per se, as the graphic is of two fists in a “power up” pose) fixed at the bottom of the screen, along the lines of the old Atari
game, Pong. It’s actually harder to explain than I originally thought it would be! My one complaint about what I’ve heard regarding the sequel is that it doesn’t have this style in it, at least not that I can find mentioned anywhere.
My least favorite is the scenario to rescue people from a burning building. I always avoid that one. It involves shooting like symbols on the “ceiling” above, which is slowly building up rows of more symbols. It’s a cross between a marble popper, a match-3 and Collapse, if Collapse were to be flipped upside down.
The rest of the game is made up of more familiar styles. There is a drag to match, slide rows/columns, and, as previously mentioned, swap to match. Swap to match is found in scenarios, but also in the battle match-3 segments. The battle segments occur when you catch small time criminals doing things like shoplifting, or when the story progresses and you have a “boss” fight to engage in. This is where the role playing game element comes into play. During the regular levels you play, you also gain things like money (which is used to purchase items at the item shop and to upgrade your tower) and experience (which is used to advance your hero through the levels). The tower upgrade will allow you access to new scenarios (like the fire fighting one) and more criminals to engage in battle with.
You are allowed to pick up to five (or maybe six?) spells or skills to bring into battle with you. There’s a location on the map from whichyou can shop for new spells, but they appear randomly and once you have replaced a spell, you have to purchase it again if you want it back after all. When you reach a new level, you can put 3 points into any combination of the three main skill types: Physical, kinetic and elemental. The more points you have in a skill type, the more damage you will do with spells or skills related to that type.
You probably won’t like this game if:
- The comic book humour does not appeal to you.
- You hate all types of match-3 games.
- You won’t play a game with a timer.
- You don’t like the “battle” style of match-3 games.
Other than that, there is absolutely no reason not to try Spandex Force!
That concludes the basics about Spandex Force! I’m sorry this is not a more in-depth review of this game, because it’s a really fun match-3. I may revisit and update this if people feel it’s not as thorough as it should be, but for now:
Too Long;Did Not Read: A great selection of puzzles to choose from, and the only style that’s really necessary to play to advance things is the traditional token swapping. The writing is entertaining, especially if you’re familiar with comic book cliches. The graphics are good and though the non-battle match 3 segments are timed, there’s nothing punitive that happens if you don’t finish in time. You just move on to the next emergency. I bought this during a sale and it was well worth it. A highly enjoyable game, and I’m looking forward to the
I forgot questions! Silly me!
Has anyone else played or tried this game? What were your thoughts on it? Did my review effect your interest in Spandex Force in any way? Is anyone except for me excited about the sequel (which is titled “Spandex Force: Superhero U” by the way)?