We’re huge advocates of video games as art—we cover video game art galleries, and have advocated many times for games to be recognized as the art form they are. And while there are plenty of games with amazing art, there are some games that are just so visually striking that almost every single scene taken from them can be hung as a print on a gallery wall. Spinch is one such game.
Spinch is a side scrolling platformer. You can run, jump, dash, and wall jump as you maneuver your little white avatar across a psychedelic landscape dotted with pulsing rainbows. It feels a little more Super Meat Boy than Super Mario Bros., with a difficulty that lies a little in-between. Unfortunately, Spinch features a control scheme that isn’t really as tight as it should be.
Like many platformers, Spinch requires precision to avoid enemies, jump gaps, sometimes swim, and more. Unfortunately, the controls at first felt a little imprecise. It’s hard to exactly quantify what the issue is, but Spinch feels sticky until you get used to it. This is especially true for the dash, which seems to have a sweet spot for activation—and it’s a required move. These control issues aren’t deal breakers, rather, they’re quirks that are surmountable. Unlike the control issues, though, I did have an issue that seemed to be something I couldn’t fix: Spinch feels choppy. It doesn’t feel as fast and smooth as a modern platformer could, and it lowered my enjoyment a bit. Which is too bad– Spinch is a feast for the eyes.
The first thing you’ve noticed about Spinch is its rainbow palette and art style that would fit into something you’d see on Adult Swim. Artist Jesse Jacobs worked with developer Queen Bee Games to achieve the look, and it’s outstanding. The music is a perfect match for the visuals, and has a delightfully retro feel.
The whole presentation is as surreal as your objective: you save your babies from a large rainbow creature that keeps stealing them after each of the six worlds. Sometimes you’ll run into your cousin, who unlocks bonus levels if you can get to him. And each baby you save, or group of cousins you help nets you more ammunition to use for the end level boss battle. There are three babies per level, and each of your babies you collect can be used to shoot the boss.
Each world has boss fights, and they are unusual. You’ll have to load your collected babies in a tube by pushing a button, and fire them at a multi-colored adversary that sometimes shoots and otherwise serves as an obstacle. These boss fights are each similar, but with enough variation to make them interesting.
Spinch is a platformer that is built for speedrunning. Even so, it had designed into it elements to specifically require speed runners to take the most optimal path. You can’t just run a straight line from the beginning to the end of each level and expect to get the best time. Beating end of world bosses is done much faster if you grab babies and complete bonus levels. I’m interested to see if the speed running community has latched onto this title at all, and if so, what strategies runners are taking for the fastest routes.
Spinch, overall, is a decent platformer. Beyond its art style, it doesn’t do very much to innovate—though the boss fights were an interesting touch. The controls feel sticky at first, and took me a while to get used to. But Spinch is a visual delight, and worth picking up for the sensory delights alone.
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