A couple of days ago, i got my new Visa Electron card with it's re-newed security codes, and Verified By Visa Service. As a result, i've been able to use that to buy stuff online, buying a couple of albums off iTunes (The Meteors, Teengenerate, The Residents, Deuces Wild and Guitar Wolf) as well as a few games fro my mac (Gish and Spandex Force).
I accidentally discivered Spandex Force whilst looking at my feeds at my google reader account. I noted that i hadn't heard about Spandex Force before, and the Puzzle/RPG/Action game hybrid seemed really really interesting. Well, i went to the site Located here and bought it faster you could say "Well i'll be a cat strangled country singer".
To be fair, the story's not bad either. in the "cutscenes" you'll witness some honest funny and witty writing, unless you're skipping the dialogue in order to complete the next mission, gaining power, fame and wealth.
The gameplay is similar to Puzzle Kingdoms with a twist. Instead of having that click and switch gameplay, it also has Click and slide (similar to Chuzzle) and Click And Drag (similar to Sega Swirl). The gameplay differs from mission to mission, where you earn clues to get to the boss battle, reputation to level up, and money to upgrade your base. Upgrading your base allows you to monitor a bigger area of crimes, and also opens up new minigames that you can play to earn reputation, money or clues.
I am glad that the game incorporates 3 ways of playing the kind of Bejeweled clones that there are on the internet. It gives variation and removes the "oh, if only i could do THIS instead of doing THAT" effect that you might have when playing a game like Bewejeled.
You can also buy new superpowers from the gypsy lady (no joke, she's really a gypsy) or buffs from the fisher man that will allow you to gain more money or clues etc. from any given round. The only thing bad about these buffs is that they're fairly expensive, and you'll rather use the money to improve your base than giving your player avatar a cool looking knife.
Graphics and Sound
To be fair, i am not a big fan of anime, so i really don't feel annoyed or pleased about the fact that the character graphics in the game are drawn in an animesque style. sure, it looks great, and i'm impressed about the fact that there have been a lot of time spent in doing the character graphics. The background graphics during the puzzles are clearly photographs that have been thrown a few Photoshop brushstroke filters. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, it gives the game a flavour of it's own, but i feel like there might've been more time used to create the backgrounds.
The Soundtrack is pretty great! There are real instruments used to make the musical bits and it shows. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to hear a dramatic trumpet or a paino whilst you're battling against hardboiled criminals in order to advance to the next chapter. I am happy that the music has also been a great area of focus.
Should i Buy it?
It depends: do you like Puzzle Kingdoms with different gameplay methods and do you have extra 10 bucks to spend? If you do, i'd say yes. It's not one of those games that you'll play 10 hours in one sitting, but it is one of those games that keeps pulling you back. It's addictive, and the variation of the gameplay styles between the missions gives you something to keep coming back to the game. Note that the boss battles are in the bejeweled style of game play, but you can only do damage when you collect enough mind power and speed tokens (I.e. the goddamn enemy can only do damage if he has enough power tokes to activate an attack). There's also a small glitch in the boss battles that'll easilly give you the upper hand of the game, if you're into that sort of thing. Besides, 10 bucks isn't that much. If you like Bejeweled and the RPG aspects of Puzzle Quest, then this game is for you.
price: 9.99 dorrals, or about 7 euros
Platforms: Macintosh (tested on 10.6.2, works ok), Windows and Linux