Spirit a great grid-lined arcade iPhone game

Dec 15, 2010
Games

If forced to describe Spirit in one ill-fitting phrase, I’d go with: TRON meets the Wild West. Although that’s a fairly odd description of anything, it feels quite apropos for this terrifically fun arcade-style app game. All the action in Spirit takes place on a grid-lined gameboard reminiscent of a spreadsheet in space. You flit […]

If forced to describe Spirit in one ill-fitting phrase, I’d go with: TRON meets the Wild West. Although that’s a fairly odd description of anything, it feels quite apropos for this terrifically fun arcade-style app game.

All the action in Spirit takes place on a grid-lined gameboard reminiscent of a spreadsheet in space. You flit around the screen, attempting to suck neon-colored enemies into some weird vortex so there’s room for the next wave of bad guys. It’s a classic arcade-game setup, where each time you clear a wave, a new, tougher wave comes in, but the vortex puts a new spin on the old formula.

Players create the vortex not by tapping a button, but by dragging their finger over the iPhone screen in a circular motion. Essentially, players lassos their enemies like they’re roping cattle. Except, in this scenario, your cattle are brightly colored space alien things.

Making the vortex-lassos is great, fun and adds a unique challenge to the humdrum space-shooter format. It forces the player to interact up close with the AI rather than sitting back and shooting defensively at them. There are variations to be found on the lasso theme, as well.

At times, it will become rather difficult to circle an enemy completely, making the lasso scenario worthless. Luckily, you can also create a vortex in the middle of empty space. Watching your enemies fly aimlessly into a black hole to their demise is really a sight to behold. There’s not a huge amount of strategy here, but there’s certainly a right and wrong way to approach specific enemies.

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About the only place the game comes unhinged, ever so briefly, is in the collision detection. It appears at times that your character is able to fly through enemies without incurring any trouble. Other times, it seems like even lightly grazing an enemy costs the player a life. It doesn’t seem especially enemy-specific, but it does seem a bit too touchy for its own good.

With three different game modes and a low price, Spirit seems like a no-brainer for someone who likes a good arcade app game. This game is fast, fun and exciting in a way that few games are.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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