Spinch (PC) | Review

Bright, colourful and designed by award-winning Canadian cartoonist Jesse Jacobs, Spinch is a platformer where colour is the enemy. You are playing as a white blob known as a Spinch, on a quest to save your offsprings from the onslaught of psychadelic colours and critters that come your way.

You’d expect it, and you get it. The art style and music are two absolutely lovely parts of this game. At first I wasn’t totally on board with the art – not that it wasn’t bright, colourful and pretty – but there was something off about it, but as I progressed through the game, I loved seeing that little Spinch sprint around the levels, avoiding as many obstacles as he could. Musically though, the game is top tier. The chiptunes that have been created are truly phenomenal, and never got boring. There were times when I left the game open just to listen to the music, even.

The main draw of Spinch however is the art of speedrunning. I’ve really got into speedrunning over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic, although I’ve yet to actually try my hand at it. It’s definitely an area of gaming that is terrific to watch and allows players to demonstrate their skill of the game, as well as compete against other players in a game that may not necessarily be a competitive tile. The developers of Spinch have probably noticed the popularity of YouTubers like EZScape and sites like Speedrun.com and figured they should try to use that to gather some momentum for their game, and it’s an idea I can fully get behind, although not one I’d actively partake in!

I’m not a patient man, and I’m not good at platformers, so me and Spinch were always destined to be a dodgy match. There is some absolutely cracking parts of the game – but I just couldn’t get on with it. There’s a part of the game near the start that, in theory, was quite simple. I managed to do it, eventually, but it was with more luck than judgement. Every time I repeated the level, it seemed like the controls were doing something slightly different with each press. Jumping wouldn’t be jumping quite so high, despite applying the same amount of force to the button. Dashing would suddenly be a tiny bit slower, or shorter, leaving me open to getting chomped from the ever-encroaching enemy. Due to the frequency in which I’d be let down, I ended up rage quitting far more than I’d care to admit.

Mechanically, Spinch is hindered a bit by the controls, and as it’s set up for speedrunning, that can make it quite difficult for newcomers to platformers or people that are rubbish at these sorts of games. It is definitely a little offputting, but overall I’d say the game is quite an experience. It’s got lovely visuals, and when you do eventually manage to succeed at a level after dozens of attempts, you do feel that achievement. If nothing else, it’s worth buying just for the music.

3 Stars

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