capsule review

Spheremare (Full version)

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Spheremare (Full version)

Remember a ubiquitous arcade game of the 1980s and 1990s called Pang or Buster Bros? Well, Spheremare (approximately $2; free demo) is essentially Pang/Buster Bros for your Android phone. If you remember and love that game, you'll probably stop reading this review now, head to Android Market, and buy it. I understand. Honestly, Spheremare is so similar to the classic arcade game that I'm surprised the developers haven't been sued. But hey, I'm not a lawyer, I'm just psyched to have this game on my phone.

For the uninitiated, Spheremare is a game where you try to fight off an endless horde of bouncing balls by shooting various grappling-hook-like weapons at them. Over the course of the game, you acquire various weapons, which you can upgrade them by going to an in-game store and purchasing them with coins you've collected while playing. Different weapons have different advantages suitable for different situations; some stick to the ceiling, some rapid-fire like a machine gun. The game has 45 levels in all, plus four bonus stages. You can also play in survival mode and with various difficulty levels.

Controls are the Achilles' heel of this game. If you have a hardware keyboard, you'll do just fine, as the game is quite responsive to the hard keys. But i you're working with a naked touchscreen, you may run into trouble. Your options are to use some on-screen directional arrows or you some gestures, but your thumbs are likely to get in the way of the screen, and I repeatedly sent my character in the wrong direction, costing me many lives. The carnage was terrible. Perhaps dedicated players will adjust to this limitation over time, but the controls would certainly benefit from some refinement.

All told, the game is a lot of fun, and fairly addictive. At the least-challenging difficulty level, it's extremely easy and you'll probably be able to play the whole game without losing a life. Turn it up if you want a challenge. I suspect that the creator of Pang/Buster Bros will eventually catch on, and this game will get pulled down--so if you want it, grab it while you can.

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Spheremare (Full version)

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