Spare Parts review


Spare Parts review

We love robots as much as the next person, and at first, Spare Parts charmed us with its cute robo-heroes and whimsical art style. But those warm, fuzzy feelings soon evolved into nonstop cursing as we slipped, slid, and died our way through increasingly horrid platforming segments.

As you wander an alien planet, you’ll smash crates, collect coins, and amass spaceship parts with names like Dickensian Darklight Frequency Distributor — all of which feels inconsequential. Upgrading your various action parts (Strong Arms, Magno Boots, X-ray Specs) seems to offer little tangible difference, either.

Obtuse trial-and-error puzzles abound, and levels offer little to no direction on how to progress. Instead, you flail about hoping you’re doing what’s needed (like, say, igniting four torches by thwapping corresponding birds) to move to the next invariably vague objective. When you do beat a puzzle, it’s less of a “Eureka!” moment and more of a slow trudge to the next area.

Not even co-op can save Spare Parts. Two-player interactions like attack bonuses for teaming up on foes feel totally random, and whether you’re playing locally or online, you share a screen with comrades. If one person goes off-camera, they’ll either die in short order or you’ll spawn right next to them — super-annoying if you’re in the middle of a tricky jumping section.

Adorable characters can carry a game only so far when it’s overburdened by vapid gameplay that exists solely to pad out brief (if diverse) levels. Unless you have loot and robot fetishes, there’s little reason to go here.

On Xbox Live Arcade

+ Robots; rocket boots; snazzy visuals.

- Slippery platforms; bad camera; co-op play doesn’t add much.

- Short campaign extended by crappy puzzle design.

? Why can’t all robots be as badass as HK-47 from Knights of the Old Republic?


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