As I browsed the art assets the publisher placed on the Steam page for this game I had a sinking feeling someone had taken a 90s era PC game and uploaded it to Valve’s storefront. Boy was I ever wrong. Not only was my fear unfounded I was also delighted when I got the chance to play it for myself. In Captain Kaon you play as the titular heroine. Or should I say Anti-heroine? As an ex-con with a checkered past and a commuted sentence Kaon comes fully equipped with an attitude, a lot to prove and an itchy trigger finger. As one of the few remaining gunship pilots she’s been given command over the Argus. The flagship of the defense fleet...
First let me spoil the score and explain myself.
Now.. Before I get strung up by indie-diehards let me say this is a perfectly acceptable score.
A passing grade.
Little Timmy gets promoted with his classmates.
Stay tuned for the full explanation.
A Meta-goal wrapped in an accomplishment-vania and served with a scoop of nostalgia:
Remember the Nintendo-hard era? When a blue robot had to ride platforms that could drop him mid air? When a sure-footed plumber might meet his end on a slippery landing? Where a young man could pop his name into a code dialog and find out the most badass bounty hunter in the galaxy was also a lady? You ‘membah? If you don’t that’s just fine too...
A fine example of how the Unity engine was meant to be used and a loving mix of 80s era goodies. The game reminds me most of an inverted Tempest. It does draw deeply from the Decent well too. A recent game that’s much like this is Vektor War. That game lacked the need for a sixth axis and played more like an FPS. The art styles and mechanics are similar. The ships you can unlock have a lot in common with vessels you’d see in popular movies and other games. Someone look at the one being serviced on the mothership and tell me that’s not an X-Wing. Ofc it isn’t but the look vaguely related. The levels look like either a Decent level turned inside out or maybe an intentionally failed Tetris puzzle. They can get very complex early on.
Dystoria uses a heavy synth-w...
Even with the low res textures and low poly terrain the game looks damn good. You’ll find gaps in the map further away from the typical spawn points. This is forgivable since you really have to travel pretty far afield and a long while before those cracks show up. The alien creatures are well detailed. The structures are also given the right amount of attention. This includes the textures which many similar games tend to skimp on. Your little droid companion is also lovingly assembled with the same care put into the player model which is spectacular. Even third person view doesn’t do the player model justice. While playing with friends you might catch yourself admiring the graphical fidelity and fluidity of their characters. This comes at a cost...
Ok, here’s the deal. Spirit Sphere is FUN. Even by yourself. But it makes a great party game. Let’s dive in!
With a new file there’s three basic characters. Lin, who moves pretty quick and has a good reach with her sword. Buster, who is fast on his paws and can return a shot quickly. Then there’s Ozo, a wizard, who moves slower than most but has really good reach and powerful returns. You can unlock more but I’ve not gotten that far. Not yet. You also start with three arenas and two spirit spheres. Each arena is dynamic and plays differently. While the forest arena allows for a lot of item drops with forgiving goals by contrast the dungeon arena forces you to open your defenses to lower your enemy’s while balancing helpful NPCs with item drop opportunities. Killing a hostile NPC might give your opponent a power item. Killing a friendly NPC might get you nothing and you lose their help stunning foes. There’s also the spring arena which resembles a faerie fountain park without the fountain. It challenges you to use the angled walls to your advantage. The starting spheres come in two flavors. Normal and SLOW. The normal sphere is quick and responsive but the slow sphere moves slower. You can use the slow sphere to help train with as it is slightly more forgiving. Unlocks are chance driven. If you want to get new spheres, new arenas, and new characters you’ll need to play a lot in single player or invite friends over for tournaments, much like unlocking in arcade fighters.