Aug 17, 2011

Spirit HD

Spirit HD caught my eye as part of a 50% sale that Jakyl is having. It looked to have cool, vector style graphics and made me curious. The game play is a simple, arcade style experience. You quickly drag your finger on the screen and Spirit will follow surrounding its enemies in a bubble that quickly absorbs them into oblivion. The game actually features three modes of play. The second simply increases the difficulty while the third requires running over things instead of circling to make these encapsulating bubbles.

qrcodeThe graphics and sound are beautifully executed. I might even say that's the high point of the game. The controls are simple touch screen swipes with the problem being that my giant finger is always in the way of the heavy visual action. I also tried this on my tablet and the experience with the large screen was much better and I felt that I had much better control. Let me clarify that... controls are great in the game, but such precision is required that a small screen leaves something to be desired. However, on a tablet the game has one glaring problem... there's no way to quit. Apparently the game assumes we all have physical buttons for home, back... etc and Honeycomb tablets do not. Consequently, once I'm done with a session of Spirit I am forced to physically turn off my device and reboot it. It's like the PC's of 1982 all over again.

There really isn't much more to say about this game. It's pretty. It plays well. And it gets old fast. It's pure arcade game, but it just doesn't have the addicting qualities of a Pac Man or Defender. Or maybe I'm just older and wanting more. For $1 it's a nice show piece in my collection of Android games, but I just don't see people hammering away for more than 10 minutes on this game dreaming of coming back for more later. 3.5/5 stars for a well executed title with limit longevity.

Edit: Just a quick email from the developer although I haven't had a chance to check it out.

We just wanted to point out that on Honeycomb tablets, the “action bar” is always available to go back. In Spirit, the bar appears on the right hand screen (as three dots) because the game is naturally portrait. During game play, the bar is in what Google describes as “lights out” mode and appears as three dots, but you can tap on it at any point to reactivate it, and that then gives you access to the usual ability to go back. If you hit go back from the main menu, you will exit, just like any other Android app!

I’ll chat to the developer of the game and see whether he thinks it would be worth adding an additional exit button although I think the idea was not to clutter the screen!

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