Spinch (Switch, PC)

What if colors were alive and needed to eat to survive?  And their favorite food was a little white ball creature called a Spinch.  Play as a Spinch as you run, jump, and dash to avoid colors out to get you in this psychedelic super challenging 2-D platformer.  It’s available to download on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

Your Spinch can run, dash, and climb up walls like Mega Man X, and that’s it.  You can stomp on some enemies to dispatch them, but most of the time when you see something colorful, you just need to avoid it.  Just make it to the end of each level and fight a boss at the end of each world.  You get three hits and when you lose all your hearts or fall in a pit, you must start back at the last checkpoint.  The game records your best time for each level.

Scattered about the levels are items that can help you out.  Collect enough little white squares to become temporarily invincible for a short while.  Find hidden little baby Spinches and pink critters to unlock bonus stages to help you defeat the boss.  In boss fights, you can use the babies as ammo to hit the boss.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt the babies.  I think winning the bonus stages helps you in boss fights, too, but they were so darn hard I couldn’t pass them, and they only let you play them once.

I really did like the psychedelic graphics.  Reminded me of Yellow Submarine or Sesame Street cartoon shorts from the 70’s.  Supposedly the graphics and sounds were made by well-known artists and musicians, but I had never heard of them.  The music fits the game, but it’s not something I would listen to of my own volition as it sounds like Optimus Prime’s digestive tract.  I think the correct term is ‘dubstep’ but I’m not really sure.

I did have some problems with the game.  I’m not really a big fan of super tough 2-D platformers that are challenging just for the sake of being hard.  I could muscle my way through the regular stages, but it was the boss fights that did me in.  It was also hard to judge distances sometimes on platforms and walls because they use this forced isometric perspective on some of the environments, and the slightly floaty controls didn’t help either.  Also the text was too small to read in handheld mode, and even though the game was pretty easy to figure out, it would’ve been nice to have some instruction beforehand as to why you need to collect certain things to help you defeat bosses.  But if you like super hard 2-D platformers, you may want to check this one out anyway.

Kid Factor:

Spinch is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  If your character gets defeated, you just disappear in a puff of smoke and are sent back to the last checkpoint.  Reading skill isn’t necessary to play, but younger gamers may find it too difficult and frustrating.

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