Spare Parts is one of those games that tries to follow a formula that has proven tried and true for a long time. They stuck in some bright colors, cute characters, and even threw in some voice talent, but ultimately, this game really falls short of the mark it set for itself. If you are looking for a quality downloadable, co-op title, you should look elsewhere.
The game, from the very beginning, can’t seem to get out of its own way. The controls are really stiff and truly awful to use. Your little robot doesn’t move well, and you find yourself trying to get through the platforming elements with little to no success. The real problem reveals itself when there are complicated platforming sections, because not only is the robot hard to control and incredibly imprecise, but the environment is so awkwardly laid out that determining where you need to jump next will prove to be a challenge. Many of the places you need to go are blocked off or placed way out of the range of your robot, so prepare to be teased.
That brings us to the biggest flaw of the game: the in-game help tutorials. The game will explain, ad nauseum, the basics of jumping, double jumping, and combat, but when it comes to anything outside of those few topics, you are on your own. Since the tutorials are so limited, you will find yourself roaming around the levels without knowing what you need to do, effectively killing the pace of the game. It really becomes a problem when you start acquiring new powers, because the game does not explain what the new power is, or even where to use it. The only way to find out what each power does is to play until you get exhaustively stuck, and then just start cycling through the powers menu until something works. Apparently, that is exactly what EA had in mind, because they surely don’t say anything.
The art and the look of the characters is really where the game shines. The colors really seem to pop, and visually, mostwill find the game appealing. The story itself is very limited and brief, but the interaction between characters is very cute, so it helps to alleviate some of the frustration from everything else about the game. It’s easy to end up liking your little robot, and the narration of the story is quite enjoyable, though the narrator almost never talks to you outside the beginning and end of the story. It would have been better had the narrator spoke more about the story throughout the game, since all you know is you are a robot helping another robot escape the world you are on. The parts of the game inside the alien ships are particularly enjoyable. They really had a nice, futuristic feel that made them interesting to play in.
As you move further into the game, you will notice that, though the environments change, the mechanics don’t change at all. The gameplay pretty much stays the same throughout, and you will feel some level of boredom set in as tasks become tedious to complete. Every level objective is the same, and it just feels like a big frustrating scavenger hunt as you die over and over again, trying to get the camera to cooperate with you.
The game markets itself as a co-op game, and I liked that it was a drop in / drop out co-op system, which, in my opinion, is the best kind of co-op. There are a number of collectibles you will need a buddy to get your hands on, so if you plan on getting 100% for the game, get someone else to play with. Unfortunately, the problems of the game bleed into problems with the co-op, so there is that to contend with. In the co-op mode, though, matters are further complicated by the fact that you have to stay within a certain distance of the player; otherwise, you die and have to be re-spawned at a point close to the player furthest ahead. Usually, that isn’t a problem, since you are trying to work together, but there are sections in the game where you have to do a lot of backtracking on a higher or lower level than you started from. This means that while traversing across canopies or skipping across rivers, if one of you falls, it almost ensures you will die, requiring you to wait for a spot to re-spawn in. It is extremely frustrating, and makes the game almost unplayable in co-op.
Unfortunately, Spare Parts doesn’t live up to the colorful and vibrant exterior that first intrigued me to take a look at this game. The awful controls, poor help system, dreadful co-op, and tedious nature of collecting items in this game couldn’t help but drown out any glimmer of hope it once had. I did like the premise of the game, and I saw potential, despite the draw backs; unfortunately, this game just did not come together in time. Since there are much better alternatives out there, there is no possible way that I could recommend this game to anyone.
This review is based on a retail copy of the PlayStation 3 version of Spare Parts published by EA
- Decent Co-op System
- Poor Controls
- Short, Unfulfilling Story
- No In-Game Tutorials