Day 574: Spartans in Candyland

Posted: 2012/06/05 in Indie Games

Some people love charm-filled games, and others love realistic-looking games. If you’re in the latter camp (as I usually am), you’ll likely get a kick out of playing a relatively realistic-looking spartan shooting the crap out of cutesy-looking gummi bears and other similarly-themed enemies in “Spartans in Candyland”.

It doesn’t reinvent the genre, but it does have some things going for it. For example, the animation in smooth and attractive. For another, the levels are reasonably large and obstacles force you to do some pathfinding when running away from enemies.

Co-op multiplayer for up to 4 players is here, and each of the four types of spartans have varying abilities (it’s worth noting that you can double-up on a spartan type, you don’t have to all take one of the four different ones). The abilities vary in ways other than just speed and strength, one can put up fences to slow down the enemy advance, another has a special ranged attack, etc. Interestingly, the energy you save up to unleash these special abilities is actually pooled amongst all players in co-op.

Unlike a lot of twin-stick shooters which are just about surviving waves of enemies, there’s an actual point here: you need to take control points, and hold them as the hordes advance. This adds an interesting level of structure and strategy to a genre that usually has little of either. The game gives you two control points per level; one offers more points if successfully held, but the game responds by throwing more enemies at you, whereas the other is less lucrative but less fought over by the AI opponents.

Most importantly of all, who doesn’t want to be a muscle-bound spartan mowing down gummie bears? Despite having a pretty impressive collection of dual-stick shooters spread over the 574 reviews so far, I’m always happy to add one more at the impulse-buy friendly 80 Microsoft Points when it’s got something fun going for it. That’s not that weird if you ask me, any more than it’s weird for someone to buy the new Call of Duty, the new Battlefield, the new Far Cry, and the new Halo all in the same year, and I think most of us know someone like that. Or if it is weird of me, at least I’m not alone in it.

Here’s what the developer (Marklund Games) has to say about the game:

“Pick one of four half-naked Spartans, each with unique abilities and shoot yourself through legions of cuddly aliens in this twinstick shooter. Play alone or with your friends, pick up different weapons and destroy everything that moves while capturing checkpoints to gain score. The more you kill, the higher your testosterone builds up, which allows you to unleash your most destructive abilities.”

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