Spoing, a casual platforner in the style of Parachute Ninja, has been developed by Games2Be and released by Chillingo onto the app store. Featuring a cool silhouette style with simple controls and challenging physics-based gameplay, Spoing is an exercise in both speed and accuracy that frustrates as much as it delights.
- Beautiful graphical presentation
- Pleasing soundtracks and support for iPod library
- Easy-to-use controls
- Timer-based play adds requirements of speed and accuracy
- GameCenter and Crystal integration for leaderboards and achievements
- Completion of each level kicks you out to level menu, subjects you to slow loading times
- Strength of launch can be difficult to predict without aiming line
- Some par times are very difficult to achieve
- Latter levels contain many platforms off-screen with no way to pan or zoom out to view
Spoing is an inky sphere who dwells in an equally inky cave world full of elastic trampolines. One day, Spoing is knocked out while guarding the rainbow diamonds, only to wake up and discover that his treasure has been cleaned out. He must traverse 50 levels of increasing difficulty to track down the thief and recover each of the diamonds. Moving from springy platform to springy platform in slingshot fashion, Spoing must avoid enemies and the destructive environment while collecting gems and attempting to reach the rainbow diamond under the target time. There are also a series of colored gems found in the levels that affect gameplay in various ways, most notably freezing the time for either 1 or 4 seconds or allowing you to build additional platforms. There are also a number of special platforms, such as moving platforms, disappearing/reappearing platforms, and checkpoint platforms that eliminate the need to start over from the beginning should you meet your fate at the hands of an enemy or on a rocky outcrop. A timer tallies how long it takes to reach your goal, awarding you with up to 3 blue level dots if you beat the best par time. Collected dots are used to increase experience, which allows you to unlock latter levels.
Graphically, Spoing has a distinctive and enjoyable style, using lots of black color to contrast the backdrop. The timer is color-coded to indicate which dot level you are currently working within, and platforms can also change color to indicate an activated checkpoint or imminently-disappearing platform. Animations are fluid and a dotted-line aiming device can be of assistance in directing your ascent. The soundtrack features a number of selectable tracks, from ambient sounds to rhythmic tracks, as well as support for your own music library. The controls are simple and straightforward, utilizing downward drag-and-release to launch Spoing from one place to another. An upward-drag on Spoing causes him to drop through his current platform, which was the unfortunate result when we attempted to make any short jump. Tapping in an open area at two end points creates a platform when you have enough green crystals to do so. Tilting the device can have a slight impact on Spoing’s trajectory, though it didn’t seem to make much of a difference in our time with the game.
Replay value is decent, as you’ll certainly need to replay many levels to get your time down into the 3-dot range, let alone to master the board by completing it without dying once. Crystal and GameCenter leaderboards and a ton of achievements provide additional incentive to replay the game. There is actually an achievement for mastering every single level, plus a handful more. Overall, we found Spoing to be an enjoyable albeit frustrating experience, due mostly to the required precision in launching Spoing (he doesn’t have a parachute to affect his trajectory) and the seemingly out-of-reach top target times as you pass the halfway mark. Still, for $0.99 (or $1.99 for the HD version), Spoing is a 4-Dimple puzzler that is well-worth the money.