A long long time ago, in adecade far, far away I owned an Amiga. I loved my Amiga, mostly due to the massive collection games I had amassed for it. Among the many that just sat on my shelf gathering dust, there were a select few that I kept coming back to time and time again. One of those titles was Lemmings, a game where you try to save a bunch of hapless rodents from hurling themselves off of cliffs to certain death.
Now it is 2012, and the folks at Spaces of Play have released the Mac port of their iPad Lemmings clone Spirits: a game that features the same “drop off a cliff onto something horrible” gameplay as my treasured Amiga title, but replaces the adorable little rats with … adorable little spirits.
For those not familiar with this type of game, the basic idea is to guide the cute, but amazingly dimwitted spirits to the exit of each level by issuing commands to the individual spirits. Once you issue a command to a spirit, it can no longer complete the level, but it can direct the others to the exit. Spirits shakes things up a bit by adding bonuses for collecting plants along the way, which can be done by either walking over them or clicking on the spirit to release spores. Hitting a plant with a spore counts as collecting it. This adds a new layer to the gameplay and increases replay-ability. The spirits have a number of powers in order to complete their mission. They can be ordered to build bridges, dig, blow puffs of air allowing other spirits to fly or inflate your spirit into a giant ball, perfect for blocking the path. Not all of their abilities are available on each level, so you will have to mix things up a bit to complete all 40 levels. Level design is competent. For the most part you are free to come up with your own solution, although there is generally a “best” solution for each level. I did find that the difficulty could fluctuate wildly from level to level. A series of amazingly easy levels will often be followed by a very, very hard one.
Spirit’s control scheme is quite intuitive: click on a spirit and it stops its relentless march forward and a series of icons representing actions are made available. This is a huge improvement over the Lemmings game Spirits draws inspiration from. Hitting the space bar fast forwards time so you don’t have to wait for the results of your commands — I am glad that this feature was included.
The graphics are very nice throughout and convey an eerily magical feel, without being scary or going in the other direction and being too childish. They do tend to be a bit same-y, but I for one would rather have a series of similarly attractive levels than varied horrid looking ones. Sound is very, very good. The soundtrack fits the mood of the game perfectly and the sound effects are crystal clear. I am glad the developers took the time to get the audio done right.
Spirits is a great game to play when you have a bit of time to waste, and just want to play something creative and fun. It is nice to see that time has been taken to port this game correctly, and the amount of polish applied is refreshing. Recommended.
Publisher: Spaces of Play
Price: $4.99 (£4.49)
Description: A Great Puzzler Inspired by Lemmings
Pros: Nice graphics, solid simple gameplay.
Cons: Difficulty a bit uneven, short.