Super Meatboy was a genre defining game. One part pure challenge, several parts amazing level design, held together with insanely precise controls. In the years since the title has been released many have tried, and failed, to be worthy of even being called a competitor to that crown. Now Spinch rises from among the ranks, with psychedelic visuals and similar gameplay to challenge it. It is basically Meatboy but on mushrooms.
The first thing that should be noted about Spinch is that the artwork is amazing. For anyone who ever watched SuperJail! on Cartoon Network, they will instantly feel a kinship with the style. While this isn’t that artist, the same sort of “everything is alive,” feeling that one would get via illegal, but natural, psychotropics is very much the same. The true achievement the game has above anything else is that every frame looks like it could be a piece of framed pixel art on a hipsters apartment.
You can check out our stream of Spinch embedded below:
The controls are spot on, and the challenge is pretty much where it should be most of the time. The problem comes in with the level design. The beauty of Super Meat Boy was that the levels were short, so when you died you knew that you had lost, at most, two minutes of a very flawed run–30 seconds of a perfect run. Spinch has levels that stretch on and on, and checkpoints that are minutes apart from each other. If those checkpoints were levels, it would be perfectly fine, they aren’t. If the player backs out of a level, all progress is lost. There can be several checkpoints in a level. Meaning that first playthroughs of difficult levels can last much longer than needed.
Meatboy knew that players needed breaks from things. Spinch doesn’t, it is almost like the game wants you to know the true meaning of suffering. While the game itself is amazing to look at, and the controls really are exactly where they should be given the style of the game, the length and difficulty of what is asked in each level just gets to be too much after a while. If they had just managed to take a little more of a cue from what inspired them, the game would have been something that everyone would have remembered. As is, it is something that only the most hardcore fans of the genre should really look into.