Alien Spidy (360)

SPIDY_BOXOn the planet of Aracnia lives a race of super intelligent spiders. One day, a girl spider left on a spaceship and crash landed on Earth. Now it’s up to her boyfriend and the hero of the game, Alien Spidy, to go to Earth himself to save her. But he ends up crashing on Earth, too! Now he must brave this strange new planet to find her in this 2-D platforming game downloadable for Xbox 360.

Alien Spidy can do one of two things. He can jump, and shoot a string of web that can latch onto things for him to swing from. It’s quite similar to Bionic Commando. Using these two moves, you’ll avoid natural hazards like spiky thorns and poisonous mushrooms. Watch out for bugs and other critters, too! You’ll have to dodge loitering ladybugs, pesky bees, rolling pill bugs, and sleeping bats.

But avoiding enemies and obstacles and making it to the end of the level isn’t your only goal. Scattered about each stage are circle icons that give you bonus points. If you collect several in a row really quickly, you’ll get a huge extra boost of points. But the only way to do that is with skillful use of your web swinging abilities. You’ll get a rating at the end of each stage based on your high score, and you can compare yours with others on Xbox LIVE via leaderboards.

The game can be very challenging, but luckily most of the time the play control is super responsive. You can aim your web string with the R stick, but I found it easier to just shoot it with the X button and aim with the L stick since using the R stick means taking your thumb off the very important jump button. While Alien Spidy moves smoothly and quickly, the controls sometimes feel a little slippy, and every once in a great while it felt like he wouldn’t jump when I wanted him to, but I think my slow reaction time contributed to that.

The game itself is like a cross between the gameplay of Bionic Commando and the stiff challenge of Super Meat Boy. Luckily there are plenty of checkpoints so you never have to start too far back if you mess up (just don’t hit a previous checkpoint, it could screw you up and I had to start a level over one time because of that). You also get unlimited lives. I could never figure out how to get past the first world, though. I made it through all the levels, but the game wasn’t clear if you needed to get a certain score on each level or whatnot in order to make it to the next. With the game’s high challenge level, I think you should be able to go to the next world simply by beating the stages. But if you like 2-D platformers with a high difficulty level to test your skills on, Alien Spidy may be just the game for you.


Kid Factor:

Alien Spidy is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Comic Mischief. If your spider gets hit, he just makes an electrocuted animation and warps back to the last checkpoint, ready to try again. Reading skill isn’t needed as all the rules and instructions have picture cues. But younger gamers and less experienced players may get frustrated at the high difficulty level.

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