Sep 26, 2017 Last Updated 9:15 AM, Sep 26, 2017

Wacky Spores: The Chase Review

Published in Strategy
Read 1246 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

As an avid reader, writer, and all-around pop culture junkie, I love a good story. I like a definite beginning, middle, and end. The ending is important; I want to feel the satisfaction of a resolution. Even with games that are light on story, there’d better be a final boss to beat and a denouement to tell me the hero lived happily ever after.

I crave closure.

So, it’s a testament to the quality of Wacky Spores: The Chase, an endless runner from developer Lorenzo Bellincampi, that I enjoyed it as much as I did.

Wacky Spores: The Chase blends the action of an endless runner with the tactical play of a turn-based strategy game. You play as three sentient mushrooms (the titular spores) fighting against a ceaseless tide of bug/insect creatures that are trying to kill you. You can move the mushrooms up, down, right, and left, but the screen is always scrolling, and the mushrooms move together as one, like the players on a bar in foosball. After your mushrooms have run long enough to fill a meter, the action pauses and you get to choose a weapon and take shots at the motionless enemies. You follow this pattern until all three of your mushrooms have shuffled off their mortal coil.

There are a lot of familiar gameplay elements here. You collect coins to unlock weapons, items, characters, and locations. You get bonuses for completing goals, like killing twenty of one enemy type. Each character has its own stats and special moves, so you can change up your party depending on the enemies in the location you’re playing.

It’s all pretty standard stuff, but Wacky Spores: The Chase puts it together in an interesting way.

The first bit of the game is a little grindy, but once you’ve unlocked a good portion of stuff, the strategy gets really fun. There are a lot of choices to make: how will you move your mushrooms so that they’re lined up well for the next combat phase? In what order do you have your mushrooms attack so that the right gun is available for the mushroom in the right position? When do you try to avoid enemies, and when do you sacrifice one of your mushroom guys so the others can keep going? Each one of these decisions matters, and the surprising amount of depth in this title is what kept me engaged and having fun.

Aesthetically, Wacky Spores: The Chase looks and sounds great. Each location gets its own fitting soundtrack, and the sound effects make sense, accurately conveying the actions they’re depicting and providing helpful audio clues. Any given moment can be hectic, and being able to hear that one of your mushrooms is getting hit is useful when you’re focused on a different part of the screen. The graphics are playful and colorful, and they fit the arcade-y feel of the game nicely.

Wacky Spores: The Chase wisely disposes of its alleged story within about 30 seconds; you’re not playing an endless runner for deep, meaningful characters and profound storylines, after all. Instead, the script entertains with fourth-wall-breaking meta-commentary about games and memes. It’s not uproariously funny, but it’s pleasant enough – and easy to blow right by if it’s not your thing. It’s weird that you’re playing as a set of mushrooms shooting bugs (never did I think I would type the word “mushroom” in a game review this many times, outside of the Mario series), but it makes for fun, whimsical gameplay.

Plus, you get to kill bugs.

Lots of bugs. Cartoony bugs, but bugs nonetheless. And if you hate bugs as much as I do, it’s just a little bit cathartic. (I’m not saying I’m a grown woman who makes her girlfriend kill all the bugs in their apartment, but I’m not-not saying that, either.)

Wacky Spores: The Chase has a few issues. Some of them are little problems not uncommon in one-man developed titles: typos, instructions that are not always well explained, UI that isn’t always the most intuitive. Those are overlookable for me. The collision detection was frustrating, however. The aiming mechanism of your guns highlights the first enemy who’s going to get hit, which is helpful, but if you’re aiming right on the edge of the enemy, you occasionally miss, even though the enemy was highlighted. When I say occasionally, I mean it; it happened maybe three times over the course six-ish hours of gameplay, but it was tilt-inducing when it did. I also had some problems with repeating guns, like the minigun that shoots several bullets in a row to take out a line of enemies. I would line up shots that really looked to me like they were going to hit several enemies, but they ended up missing by about a pixel and wasted half my bullets. After the first few times I did that, I learned to be more conservative in my use of the minigun, but that behavior did detract a bit from the tactical use of that gun.

8

The Verdict

Wacky Spores: The Chase is a unique mashup of genres that ends up being very enjoyable. With all the strategic choices to make, I didn’t miss having a strong story or a conclusion. As the saying goes: It’s the journey that matters – and a perpetual journey can still be really, really fun.

Samantha Bister

Samantha Bister is a writer and editor from Wisconsin. Her earliest gaming memories are of playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with her mom, who did the boring stuff like collecting heart pieces while Sam beat the bosses. In addition to games, she also enjoys reading, making fun of terrible movies, and watching videos of cats and dogs running into things or falling over.

Related items

  • Niche - a genetics survival game Review

    Niche – a genetics survival game is a species sim with roguelike progression, played in turns on a hex grid. It includes enough novelty to charm fans still searching for the children of Creatures or Spore, but gambles with repetitive and predictable gameplay. It's as likely to frustrate you as it is to relax you, and small annoyances tip the scale in favor of the prior. Approach with reasonable expectations about its depth and variety, and you'll raise your chances of garnering an enjoyable experience.

  • Oriental Empires Review

    Oriental Empires shall surely frustrate some players, though that really boils down to his or her shortcomings, not the any of the title. You shouldn’t be upset about historical accuracy: plagues happened, bandits are terrible, and — who would have thought — peasants hate building things for their oppressive overlords because they’d rather be with their families. Sitting down and learning how to be a sovereign to the people and not just field marshal to armies will open players up to a superb experience in the genre. The foundations of other efforts in the genre may show, but ultimately, Oriental Empires builds upon them anew, just like real life.

  • Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story Review

    Another Lost Phone is truly a masterpiece in its kind, setting a bar in both creativity and meaning that will be hard for future installments in the genre to match. In addition to being one of the most innovative vehicles for a puzzle-based story to be released in a long time, the story is immensely engaging from the moment you unlock the phone. Accidental Queens have now issued a challenge to game designers everywhere: use your art to tell stories that need to be told.

More in this category: Semispheres Review »

Latest Shows

Utomik Interview

The OPN interview with Frank Meijer. Utomik is the no-nonsense unlimited play gaming subscription that offers a growing library of games from over 20 leading publishers. Gamers can...

Mantis Burn Raci…

The OPN interview showcasing the release of VooFoo Studios' 'Battle cars' DLC for the fast-paced, competitive, top-down racer, 'Mantis Burn Racing.' A conversation with Creative Di...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

Total War: WARHA…

Sequel to the award-winning Total War: WARHAMMER, Total War: WARHAMMER II introduces a breathtaking ...

FIFA 18

Score incredible goals in FIFA 18 as new movement and finishing animations unlock more fluid strikin...

XCOM 2: War of t…

War of the Chosen adds so favorably to the original XCOM 2 experience that fans should consider it near-perfect as well as essential. Although some features in XCOM 2: War of the C...

Divinity: Origin…

With Divinity: Original Sin 2, Larian Studios creates a title that brings together the best aspects of table-top and classic roleplaying games. The graphics, along with the score a...

Tokyo Dark Revie…

Dreamy yet disturbing, Cherrymochi’s Tokyo Dark keeps its crosshair leveled at a sweet spot between Japanese visual novel and point-and-click adventure. Backed by beautifully illus...

Life is Strange:…

Life is Strange: Before the Storm plays like a cutscene with a point-and-click element that is a joy; no button combinations or consulting a grainy minimap: Daedalus himself design...