Review: Spare Parts
Spare Parts… is uneven. That’s honestly the best way of describing it. For every moment of fun, there’s an equal part frustration thrown in to the mix. For every time you and your co-op buddy hi-five each other for health, there’s a frustrating encounter just around the corner. Spare Parts should have been more fun, but it can’t sustain itself for the course of the somewhat lengthy adventure.
In the game, you take control of an almost personality free robot (I say almost, because the robot does laugh when you punch your co-op partner. I suppose the only emotion they experience is schadenfreude), and you have to bound through 4 stages of varying locations, be it with a co-op buddy, or going it alone. Spare Parts tends to come undone here. The game’s chief selling point was the co-op action, with the players working together to defeat a villain that looks suspiciously like a midget Darth Vader. However, the local co-op here is borderline useless, with the players forced to share the same screen for the majority of the adventure. This becomes especially infuriating during the platforming segments, where the camera simply can’t keep up with two players jumping from platform to platform. The co-op feels like an afterthought, which is all the more curious considering it was announced along side the game. In addition to this, my experience with the online co-op in the game amounted to a second player joining my game and promptly pausing, never to return. However, remove the second player, and things improve dramatically, with the camera following your character well, and the game becomes much more manageable as a platformer. This still doesn’t make the combat any more fun though. The game remains repetitive, although the pacing is improved by the frequent acquisition of new powers, which at least add variety to the game.
However, Spare Parts certainly makes an effort on the sensory front, with clean and colourful graphics and a peppy soundtrack at least making the journey through the game a visually interesting one. However, Simon Pegg’s vocal talents help to make the game somewhat more bearable. As the only voice in the game, his performance as the ship’s computer is fun, and he does a good job with what he’s given. I do take issue with their decision to have him remain almost completely silent for a third of the game, as “radio interference” prevents his character from communicating with the player for a chunk of the campaign. It feels like they were trying to save money on voice acting by only having one speaking character, and then attempting to save further by cutting down on dialogue for him.
Spare Parts isn’t a bad game. It just isn’t a remarkable one either. It’s a mediocre platformer elevated somewhat by good voice acting, but that alone isn’t enough to place it in the category of “good”. The key mechanic of co-op is almost unusable, the bugs in the game make it frustrating from time to time, and the core gameplay gets repetitive around an hour before the game’s credits roll. Uneven really is is the best way to describe it.
For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Clean and colourful graphics
- Bouncy soundtrack and solid voice acting
- Fun… in controlled bursts
What I Dislike:
- Infrequent instances of slowdown
- Co-op camera issues.
- Repetitive uninspired gameplay
- Bugs and glitches will mess with you from time to time