This boots were made for rocketing, and rocketings what they'll do
Co-Op robots are the new bald headed space marine, cropping up in loads of games like the upcoming Portal 2 and Spare Parts. OK then, perhaps robots aren’t that popular in gaming, but neither are 360 and PS3 games for the more casual gamer. I consider casual gaming to be the type of experience where you sit down and play with a younger relative, or perhaps a partner who is not too great at gaming. This is a niche area, but one that must account for a decent proportion of the market – despite what some mainstream media believe, even gamers seduce partners and have children. Spare Parts is a game aimed at this demographic, but by being so specific, does it alienate the majority?
With its simple color palette and unlimited lives, Spare Parts will be rejected by some people as purely a kid’s game. To an extent their prejudices are true, Simon Pegg is on board as the narrator for the game and his clear and slightly patronizing voice indicates that the game is for a younger audience. You play as Mar-T and Chip, a couple of friendly robots that can work co-operatively on or offline. Between the two robots you must traverse a series of levels and collect missing parts of your space ship to fix the run down AI, Con-Rad. To aid you in this task, Mar-T and Chip are given a series of different tools, including magnetic boots and x-ray vision, to help complete a series of relatively simple puzzles, as well as a cacophony of enemies. You can even boost your health by a special co-op high five – like real life then!
Spare Parts is a simple game. The levels are short, you respawn with no consequence and with a little exploration you should not spend more than a few minutes being stuck in any given area. Despite the game feeling like a Playstation 2 era platformer, it is fun to play and the co-op really lifts it from being forgettable. In the early stages of the game the co-op aspects are hidden, as a single player can perform most tasks with ease. However, as the game progresses and the challenges become slightly harder, working together makes the game considerably easier and more enjoyable. The game design means that you can complete the game as a single player, but simple tasks such as one player opening a door whilst another pulls a switch makes things far more fluid.