|Developer: Massive MiniTeam||Released: August 4. 2020|
|Publisher: HandyGames||Reviewed: PC|
(Distributor provided review copy)
It’s a game about spitting.
That’s the joke, and if that doesn’t amuse you, chances are that it’s not worth even giving the game a go in the first place. SPITLINGS requires a certain amount of bad taste to appreciate some of the good taste that has gone into making it.
Spread over 100 levels and a four player arcade and party mode, SPITLINGS is a fun, if simplistic and shallow action shooter platformer that way overstays its welcome. It reminds me of the old Shockwave games, where a single idea would carry nearly any game enough to warrant gameplay over some days – but only in 15 minute increments during breaks. As a full game, and one with such a bewilderingly long campaign mode, such a feat is not possible.
Played with friends, SPITLINGS offers a variety of modifiers and levels to mess around with, most resulting in hectic fun for a few hours. The minimalist and colorful design ensures that the action is easy to follow, and there’s a clear understanding of where everyone is on the map at all times. It’s reminiscent of games like SUPER MEAT BOY and early Nintendo and deserves to be lauded for understanding just how important being simple sometimes is.
The controls, likewise, are basic, yet comprehensive for what they need to be. Spitlings can jump and spit and that’s about it. There are four basic directions with nothing in between, and most puzzles are based on reflexes in trying to gauge where your spit is going at any point. Some levels have walls that require more saliva to collapse, others will create droplets of spit-rain as they corrode. The controlled Spitling has only a certain amount of goop built up, after which a reload function must be triggered to gather more saliva for propelling across the level.
Did I mention that if you don’t find the basic concept even remotely amusing, this isn’t the game for you? That’s the risk of basing your entire game on a gimmick.
Later levels do introduce concepts and difficulty spikes that make the game more interesting, but to get to them requires trudging through dozens upon dozens of other levels that are far too similar to be exciting. Sometimes less is more, and in the case of spitting even less will do.
There’s very little to be said about SPITLINGS beyond the basics, as there’s very little content in the game to begin with. Sure there are tons of levels in the single player mode, but the story is thin and threadbare, and there’s little to achieve in the full adventure apart from opening new skins for the characters. Multiplayer fares much better, but our crew of four found ourselves quickly moving on after the initial gross out giggles wore off.
As with any blue humor, there’s only so far the initial shock can carry.