Let's face it folks; fewer people these days are spending their pockets full of quarters at arcades. Instead, everyone's saving them up for apps or games they could just play at home. The spirit of classic arcade gaming is slowly being sucked dry, but Spirit is keeping that retro arcade action feeling alive and re-imagining it on the mobile game space. With the help of English producers Jakyl Games, Marco Mazzoli brought a game to you where you control Spirit to send the enemies into another dimension with the swipe of your finger. Your goal is to banish all enemies on screen, build up an impressive high score, and survive until either you or the enemy spirits are all that is left.
A game as simple and free-flowing as this could not be any easier to control. Put your finger to the touch surface, drag it around, and Spirit will follow your finger across the stage. You guide the friendly white creature so it can surround and enemy or groups of them with its trail. Anything caught inside its walls will be distorted and sent hurtling into another dimension for points. One movement too quick or being overzealous in capturing enemies can cost you a life if you cannot avoid them. Your journey across the 2D neon plane will end once you run out of lives and your high score will be preserved on the device.
Spirit may seem like a one trick pony to some, but with three different game types, uniquely generated enemy waves, and an ever increasing difficulty scale, the heart and soul of a classic arcade game is improved upon greatly. Classic mode introduces the enemies progressively and is the easiest mode while Extreme and Pulse mode present quite a bigger challenge to overcome. Extreme mode takes Classic and injects it with steroids to mix more enemies into the levels than you can deal with OR maneuver around. The wonderful world of Pulse mode takes away your trail capturing ability and makes you grab pulse circles to make the space distortions. Every mode requires a hefty amount of dodging skills to survive longer, but the latter two are for the nimblest of finger flickers.
There is an interesting mechanic built into the chaotic gameplay called "relative movement" where you can press any spot on the screen, but Spirit will move without moving to your finger's position. It is quite helpful on smaller screened devices since the screen gets hectic quickly and your BIG fingers might hide one pesky little enemy from sight.
Analysis: Spirit takes you back to the older days of gaming where the only things that mattered were the highest score and showing up your friends. Swiping through wave after wave of abstract art enemies just to rack up loads of points is the main appeal to the 2D world of Spirit. It becomes really easy to put hours of time into this beautifully done mobile rendition of a classic retro experience without even noticing.
A game with such free-flowing and smooth movement can really put you in a relaxed state, but it won't last for long with how fast the enemies start pouring in. It may not take much to play, but if you aren't careful and exact in your movements then do not expect to last very long. Spirit will give you an excellent way to spend some free time while training your hand-eye coordination even more.
As is with most mobile games, Spirit is quite an easier and more enjoyable time on a bigger screen since it provides more room to navigate. Luckily, it is available on most mobile devices that have a tablet if the price isn't too big for your budget. There may not be any new features or additions being planned for the next update, but with all the hordes of different enemies and uniquely generated waves for each wave, you won't die in the same way very often.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on a NOOK Color Tablet. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.