Did you like The Lord of the Rings Playstation 2 games?‚ You know, the ones where you played as Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas, Frodo and others, hacking and slashing thousands of enemies with nary a mind paid to defense.‚ I know I constantly thought to myself, “I’d love to play this game, but without licensed characters, with ridiculously dark backgrounds and bad lighting, and a stupid gameplay feature, set thousands of years in the future!”
Developer: Bionic Games
Sep. 22, 2009
“¦ Wait, actually, that never happened.‚ But somewhat unfortunately, Spyborgs did.‚ If you lust for the days of mowing through thousands of enemies, then this game is kind of okay.‚ I mean, on a primal level, it is fun to just repeatedly jam on a button to beat things into a pulp of mechanical gadgetry, completely oblivious to the block and jump buttons because you don’t really need them anyway.‚ However, Spyborgs has several nagging features that make this seemingly simple goal harder to accomplish.
For starters, they do not believe in lights in the future.‚ Apparently, they live in a despotic world run by Al Gore, and all light sources have been eliminated in order to fight global warming.‚ This might be a slight exaggeration on my part, but only slightly so “" Half the time I was playing Spyborgs, I had trouble discerning the character I was controlling from the enemies I was fighting, especially since everyone looks weird and robotic.
I could talk about the characters, but really, they’re just an excuse to hit the button to attack the other characters who are attacking you.‚ There is a bit of a plot in place, the type that would be enjoyable if you were still a kid and watching Saturday morning cartoons.‚ Basically, your female robot ninja, machine gunner and robot must fight through these creatures because, uh… Well, they’re trying to kill you.‚ Oh, and at some point, some evil organization double-crossed you, so of course you have to get revenge against them.‚ The female ninja is kind of hot, so you’ll probably want to fight with her most of the time.
Anyway “" Smushing stuff talk.‚ The enemies come after you, wave after wave, with a typical stage having in upwards of 50.‚ You and a buddy, or you and a computer-controlled buddy, have to attack them, while you also bust open crates and boxes for health and power boosters scattered inexplicably throughout the stage.‚ The primary goal is to string together attacks to create combos “" The more hits, the better the combo rating, and the more points you get at the end of the stage to upgrade your characters.
Like every game of this type released since God of War, and similar to Madworld, you can fill up a power gauge to perform super combo attacks with your buddy or the computer-controlled character.‚ These are kind of neat to watch, except that using them almost always kills the enemy you’re currently attacking.‚ For point-harvesting purposes, it’s normally better to just beat them up yourself as opposed to relying on the combos.‚ They are somewhat neat looking though, and their application “" slashing the Wiimote, or pounding down with it and the nunchuk “" are one of the few productive uses of motion controls in Spyborgs.
That doesn’t mean that the combo attacks are the only motion controls used, just that they’re the only production controls.‚ I would have scored this game a half-point higher if it weren’t for the frustrating method used to discover “hidden” items.
Basically, by pointing the Wiimote at the screen, a little blue circle floats around.‚ Certain parts of the background look transparent, and pointing the circle at them will reveal hidden crates, kind of.‚ You actually have to point the Wiimote at it, then press A, and then yank up with the Wiimote, in order to reveal whatever you’ve found.
This sounds kind of neat, but its actual application is a nightmare.‚ There is a “ping” noise each time your Wiimote comes across a hidden crate, which would be fine if it was an occasional thing.‚ It’s not, as there are dozens of crates hidden in every god damn stage, all of which must be “uncovered” to be broken open.‚ Even worse, in later stages enemies are cloaked, so you have to manage this feat while they jump around like idiots, shooting green laser blasts at you.‚ By the way, the “hidden” crates are also placed right next to existing crates in the majority of stages, meaning you would have to be an idiot not to find them.
Blast Factor: I constantly felt like I was about 10 years old while I was playing Spyborgs, so I guess that the hidden crates next to existing crates was the right move.‚ If you have a small kid, they might enjoy this game.‚ But if you’re no longer stuck in a Saturday morning cartoon mindset, you’re better off playing the ultra-violent Madworld, a classic like Final Fight or checking out some of the more “epic” mash games like Lord of the Rings and Dynasty Warriors.‚ There really isn’t anything new in terms of gameplay to recommend here, and the cloaked items and enemies detract from an otherwise average experience.
Spyborgs is available exclusively on the Wii, and retails for $39.99. A copy of this game was given to us by the publisher for review purposes.