Spheroids review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, Wii U, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Eclipse Games
Developer: Eclipse Games
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

I can’t decide how tough I should be on Spheroids.

On the one hand it’s an unassuming little platformer that doesn’t aspire to be much more than that. It’s vaguely retro-inspired, but it never feels slavishly devoted to the late-’80s/early-’90s like so many other modern NES/SNES retreads. It’s got a corny sense of humour, but it generally manages to avoid being too winking or knowing. The levels are just the right length, the difficulty level is perfectly balanced, and, perhaps most importantly, the controls are pretty tight.

And yet, for all Spheroids does right, there’s no denying it’s got its share of niggling little issues, too. Most obviously, it’s not the most stable game: it crashed on me numerous times, each without warning. Luckily, it saves often enough I never lost too much progress, but that didn’t make it any less annoying. Likewise, there were the odd points where one little thing went wrong that essentially made the level impossible to beat. I mean, I understand why you’d make it a requirement that Spheroids’ protagonist had to to dispatch all the bad guys in a section before he could move on, for example, but that also means that if even one of those bad guys gets trapped in an unreachable area, you need to restart the game and start the world from scratch. And in terms of much lower-level annoyances, there’s the fact that the game’s humour, while far from terrible, does get a little repetitive after awhile, when you see the same mildly funny fake quote on the third or fourth loading screen in a row.

In the end, though, I think Spheroids is saved by that very first adjective I used to describe it: unassuming. If it were pretentious in any way, I could see how crashes and glitches could make the game unbearable. However, in this case, it kind of adds to the game’s low-key charm. That doesn’t excuse those issues, of course, and you’ll want to temper your expectations if you play it, but all in all, Spheroids is enjoyable enough that it can make you overlook the odd crash here and there.

Grade: B+