Game Reviews

Spheremare

Star onStar onStar onStar offStar off
|
| Spheremare
Get
Spheremare
|
| Spheremare

Counterfeit goods aren’t always the cheap, nasty knock offs they’re cracked up to be. At a previous place of employment, one of my colleagues had a reliable source for replica luxury watches of surprisingly decent quality, for example.

Spheremare is an unashamed rip-off of/homage to the arcade classic Pang, and while Gamesoul’s replica lacks the personality and watertight controls of the original, it makes for a solid and convincing budget alternative.

What’s more, with no Pang on the Android Market it represents the only game of its type for Android users.

Growing pangs

The formula is a familiar one - walk your little chap (or chapess) left and right, shooting your harpoon vertically to try and pop the giant balloons that are bouncing around the stage. When you pop one of these balloons, it splits into two smaller, lower bouncing versions, which in turn will split again.

Contact with any of these balloons means the loss of a life, which sends you back to the beginning of the round - extremely frustrating if you’re down to the last balloon, but perfectly in keeping with the retro vibe.

As you pop these balloons, they’ll drop bonus powerups (such as temporary time freezes or shields) and coins that can be spent in between rounds on new and improved weapons.

Sphere beating

While the core balloon blasting is all in order, it has to be said that the default touch controls are functional rather than perfect.

The game uses virtual buttons situated along the bottom of the screen, but the contact areas aren’t quite big enough, particularly when it comes to the ‘shoot’ button. While they work most of the time, I found myself missing the odd vital shot thanks to my wandering right thumb.

Fortunately, as a G1 user I had the option of switching to physical keyboard controls, which is a nice feature that boosts the game’s playability considerably. But the fact remains that many Android models don’t possess a physical keyboard, so a period of adjustment will be necessary for some.

These control niggles, along with a relative lack of polish and personality, show Spheremare up to be the clone that it is. But this is far from a shoddy knock-off, presenting a solidly built and pleasantly challenging slice of retro action for Android gamers.

Spheremare

Spheremare is a decent Pang clone that suffers a little from unsatisfactory touch controls and a lack of personality
Score