These days, projectile puzzles are a dime a dozen. But does any of them have a lion prince protagonist? Does any of them dare to use pop culture references from 300 and The Lion King? I think not. In Spanthera, we get to meet prince Leonidas as he goes on a heroic quest to rid his land of intruders led by the lizard equivalent of king Xerxes. Unlike the real Leonidas, the lion version fights almost all alone, with the help of his mighty spear. The goal in each level is to kill all the lizards without hurting the civilians. Move the mouse to set the height and power, click to launch the spear, shut your eyes tight and hope for the best. The thing to remember is that the spear will kill lizards only if it hits their head, but lions are more fragile and will die no matter where the spear gets them. Also, the spear appears to be very sharp indeed, so there's no need to chuck it with a lot of force; instead, focus on precision.
When making a projectile puzzle, it's tempting to introduce as many elements as possible in order to keep the gameplay fresh. Spanthera, on the other hand, opted for simplicity and cleanliness, and ended up with a charming result. None of the thirty levels feels cluttered or complicated, and yet there is enough challenge and variety to hold your attention. A moving platform here and a subtle portal element there can go a long way if used properly. It's also worth noting the great production, from the awesome classical level architecture, to the impressive voice acting and fittingly epic music. Spanthera is a little game with big ambitions and it certainly manages to raise the bar a bit higher for games of its genre.