Previews// Spare Parts

Posted 8 Nov 2010 17:18 by
EA's 2010 Winter Showcase saw everything shown to a select couple of hundred game sites. I went along for SPOnG. I noticed that Spare Parts from EA Bright Light was largely ignored during my run around. The robot-centric XBLA/PSN game was stationed right before the Dead Space 2 and Dragon Age II booths, so you can only imagine what everyone?s priority was.

The booth contained only two seats, one of which was taken up by one of the Bright Light staff, and the other? well, it largely wasn?t. Sitting down, I smiled at the developer, picked up the other controller and after about 15 minutes of laughing, friendly banter and making my robot dance, I realised that people were really missing out. Spare Parts is fun.

Simon Pegg
The game follows two robots: Mar-T and Chip, who find themselves deserted on a foreign planet. After discovering a broken down spaceship with on-board AI, voiced by Simon Pegg, the pair embark on a journey to collect spare parts to fix the ship, rescue any discarded robots and finally return home.

Basic platforming rules apply: you can run, jump, attack and dance (yes, you can do the robot) your way through a variety of alien locations, including your typical selection of desert and jungle environments. You discover spare parts as you run through the game. Collecting these enables you to upgrade your robots and discover new moves and attacks. These include Rocket Boots, which let you fly; Strong Arms, to push heavy objects or break up tough rock; X-Ray Vision, that uncovers hidden items on the map. Collecting parts can even open up new areas on the spaceship which in turn allow access to new areas on the planet.

The game is stylised with cartoonish, cute animations that brought a smile to my face. It's beautiful, particularly for a downloadable title. Bright colourful levels partnered with exaggerated character animation certainly ties the whole experience together.

The game sports a jump-in-and-play co-op mode. Choose your level, jump into a co-op game with ease, and play the co-op specific moves now available. Low on health? Then double-tap jump at the same time as your partner and get a high-five health boost, or hit co-op points at the same time to unleash additional parts to collect.

Co-op play keeps the camera focused on Player One, which can sometimes get a little iffy since your partner can run or jump off of the screen. For example, after climbing to a high area, my partner fell through one of the gaps and off the screen. I had to follow him so we could both climb back up together. This sort of a partnership can get a little annoying if you?re playing with someone who isn?t quite as good as you are.

Spare Parts will let you unlock new robots to play with, new areas in the ship; it will see you fighting bosses and upgrading your mechanical body, all while bringing a smile to your face. It could probably best be likened to a downloadable Ratchet and Clank.

While no new ground is really being covered, Spare Parts is certainly looking to be a polished casual game for younger kids ? or grown up ones! It's a cute, charming and enjoyable co-op game that will take you back to the days of the psychedelic 90s platformers ? and who doesn?t like the sound of that?

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