Review: Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon (PS4/PSV)

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Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita
  • PC, Mac
  • iOS, Android

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4, PS Vita
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible No
  • Cross-Buy Yes
  • Cross-Save Yes
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
Title: Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon
Format: PSN (PS4 1.31 GB) (PSV 1.18 GB)
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Tiger Style
Developer: Tiger Style
Original MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
The beauty of the Spider games on smartphones and tablets has always come from their simplicity and hand drawn graphical style. As one of few games that work very well with touch controls, I wondered how the transition to the PlayStation 4 would play. Fortunately the migration to a tangible controller has been well executed, and the game not only looks great on an HDTV, but also controls well.

Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon is as much about minor puzzle solving, as a spider, as it is about discovery. Since your primary goal is to complete a level and eat as many bugs in the process, the discovery appears to take place as almost an afterthought. Eventually however, you start to realize that there is more going on in the background than initially thought.

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Life as a spider really is about survival, and in order to achieve that in this game you have to traverse environments that tower over you, all while using your web to trap other critters and consume them.

On mobile devices, you’d tap the direction you wanted to jump or “web”. Here you use the analog controller to “aim” in the direction of your jump and press the button to execute. Both systems work well actually and it didn’t take long to adjust to this different way of playing a game that I’d been playing on a tablet for years.

… Hand-drawn backdrops …
Another thing that is specifically unique, and pretty damned amazing, is the use of time and weather based on your physical location as a player. It just so happens that we were having a pretty bad thunderstorm the first time I started things up.

After a few seconds of determining my location, the game commenced in the middle of its own rainy weather. Coupling the sound of the rain within the game with the actual rain outside of my own home was pretty surreal and it completely, and uniquely, drew me into the game.

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Visuals:
Hand-drawn backdrops set Spider apart from other indie titles. It’s not the actual hand-drawn aspect of them, as many other indie titles have gone that route.

It’s the style itself that evokes a serenity that I used to get when watching old Don Bluth movies as a kid. This was, of course, aided by the fact that my game started in a rainstorm. Well played Tiger Style, well played.

… an enjoyable little game …
Audio:
The game offers no unique takes on audio, but what is here is sufficient enough to paint the ambience with auditory stimulation. Certainly the sound of rain accompanying the visuals evoked that same level of bliss that I mentioned when describing the visuals.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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Conclusion:
Like the actual size of this tiny spider compared to its surroundings, Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon released alongside titans, literally. It will be easily to miss this little game, but if you’ve never played the mobile version and have a few hours to spare, you certainly will find an enjoyable little game here.

And hell, since you can play it on the Vita, complete with Cross-Save, you can always take it with you when you don’t have access to Battlefield, Titanfall 2, or Call of Duty.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature and the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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