[Review] Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition
Posted on September 30, 2017 by Jakob Vujovic(@jakovujo) in Switch eShop
System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: September 7, 2017
Publisher: Crunching Koalas
Lichtspeer hinges on its own awareness of the nonsensical retro-techno Norse premise that it strikes the player with. “Achtung” it explains in a preface, “nothing you are about to see will make any sense.” This ancient Germanic spear-throwing game from a future perpendicular dimension is a load of nonsense – but it was intriguing. Just enough so to uncover a tight and surprisingly demanding score attack game.
Fending off hordes of oncoming monsters is fairly simple. Aim the trajectory of the titular glowing spear and press ZR to fire. A quick split-second press means a short toss with a steep arch. A longer press of the fire button means the spear can vault all the way off screen. The joy of Lichtspeer hinges on this simplistic setup. The player can only toss speers at a fairly patient clip. With the amount of enemies that can be on screen, it becomes a game about learning incredible precision and maximizing every spear throw. In order to maximize score variables like long shots and head shots, as well as just being able to kill certain enemy types pinpoint precision spear wielding is a necessity. If a single enemy makes its way across the screen and touches the player character it’s over.
Fortunately, the game is fair about this. Checkpoints within levels are frequent enough to veer in just the right place between frustrating and fair, at least it is on the regular difficulty. On top of this, the game does add some a few extra defensive and offensive abilities if enemy swarms become too overwhelming for just one dinky little speer.
Vanquishing foes earns the space money LSD (Licht Standard Denomination) in order to purchase shields that can add a little buffer room to the strict one-hit death rule, or abilities to rain death upon the encroaching swarms if one speer just isn’t enough. Of course, if that’s still not enough a second player can join. A second player really makes Lichtspeer a breeze with what is effectively twice the amount of speers that can be incapacitating monsters. It throws off the delicate balance of making every shot count, but it can be helpful in Lictspeer’s especially tricky later stages.
Slopes affect the speed of certain enemies. Sometimes the player will find themselves in the middle of the screen fending enemies that approach from both sides. Along with some straightforward boss encounters that test the resolve of your precision and patience in wielding the lichtspeer, there’s always something interesting going on to throughout its thirteen levels that elaborates on an otherwise super simplistic but delicately balanced game.
There is a finely balanced score attack shooter in Lichtspeer when you look beyond the crude and colourful geometric visuals and its cheesy faux-German compound word veneer. By demanding the player have confidence in the precision of their aim aim and timing of their spear throw, a really lovely balance is created out of a game with exceedingly simple controls. It’s impressive just how much the game manages to wring out of such simple mechanics.
Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition review copy provided by Crunching Koalas for the purposes of this review.