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MEGATech Reviews: Spoiler Alert for PC

Spoilers are a controversial topic. Most people treat them like landmines and go to great lengths to avoid them. Others are only slightly bothered by them, while an even smaller pocket of people don’t seem to mind them at all. Then, there are those who actively hate spoiler-phobes, maybe even more than the spoiler-phobes hate the spoilers.

Regardless of your stance, spoilers and warnings thereof are very much a part of our culture. Spoiler Alert looks to not only cash in on that trend, but do away with the issue entirely by presenting the ending first and forcing you to play through the game backwards. This is not just in a narrative sense either; your protagonist actually runs backwards and you’ll have to un-kill enemies and un-collect coins. It’s a clever gimmick for sure, but can it rise above that to produce a satisfying game?

Only So Far

MEGATech Reviews: Spoiler Alert for PC

The story behind Spoiler Alert has you as a chili pepper who’s fighting his way to a damsel seemingly in distress. It’s completely paint-by-numbers because it doesn’t matter at all. What matters is the hook and the hook has you moonwalking through the levels back to the beginning of the game, back before the chili pepper even set out on his adventure.

The game mechanic consists of nothing more than timing. The chili pepper walks on his own – and fast – and you have to time your jumps to avoid pits and spikes, as well as stomp on squashed enemies to bring them back to life among other backwards-based objectives. Since the idea is that all of this has already been done, if you miss one of these enemies or coins or you manage to get yourself killed, you’ll create a time paradox and have to restart the level.

It really is a clever gimmick, but it’s still a gimmick, and a pretty limited one at that. I was able to run through Spoiler Alert – the main quest and the bonus quest – in less than an hour and, even by the end of that short playthrough, it was seriously starting to wear thin.

Saving Graces of Spoiler Alert

MEGATech Reviews: Spoiler Alert for PC

There are little things that make Spoiler Alert a decent little distraction. The levels are short – I mean like 10 seconds short – and so the entire thing plays like a speed run with a decent difficulty level. If the levels were any longer, I could see the experience getting frustrating, but the game knows to quit when it’s ahead and it can be a bit addicting in these little bursts.

On his own, the chili pepper doesn’t have any powers, but throughout the game, you’ll wear different masks that give you various abilities. Again, you’ll use those abilities in reverse. One mask gives you the ability to blow fireballs, but since you’re playing the game backwards, you’ll be sucking up existing fireballs, if that makes sense.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that Spoiler Alert has a simple visual charm to it. It’s not going to blow you away. It’s indie to its core, after all, but the artwork is reminiscient of something like Castle Crashers or Super Meat Boy.

Platforming Backwards is Hard Work

What Spoiler Alert really amounts to in the end is a difficult platformer. In the end, it could stand to be a little more difficult. Spoiler Alert isn’t lengthy or deep, but it could fit in the pantheon of difficult grinds like the aforementioned Super Meat Boy. Instead you’ll hit little rough patches here and there, but I was still able to breeze through the game rather quickly.

MEGATech Reviews: Spoiler Alert for PC

In the end, em>Spoiler Alert just doesn’t use its hook to its full potential. Its ideas are good ones; there just aren’t enough of them.

It wouldn’t be fair to wrap this up without mentioning Spoiler Alert‘s level editor, but truth be told, by the time I was done with the game, the last thing I wanted to do was dive into the editor. Level editors are never what they’re cracked up to be and Spoiler Alert‘s seems to be thrown in as an afterthought.

Spoiler Alert provides a very short, moderately fun distraction and nothing more. Find it on Steam for $7.99.

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