That’s not very hygienic
The premise of Spitlings is simple: the small, cubic creatures live in peace, until one day, a strange, gooey pink substance strikes and takes many of the Spitlings hostage. It is up to the player to assume the role of one of 4 remaining Spitlings to rescue their friends.
It’s clear right from the start that Spitlings is a lighthearted game that’s easy to jump right into. In “Story Mode”, players choose one of the four available Spitlings to begin, and the game provides a small tutorial that shows the player all of the abilities they will need to know for the entire game.
Shimmer and shine
Spitlings can shimmy around the map, swim through other substances, and of course, spit. Their spit is vital, because not only can it allow them to fly, but it’s their main offence against the evil enemy goo that exists in each match and is holding their friends captive. Each Spitling can hold a finite amount of spit—once they are out, they can either recollect the spit by catching it, collecting it from the ground, or they can charge up more spit (albeit after a small duration of time).
In “Story Mode”, there are zones in which players must hop into small portals that lead to 3-part levels. Players must clear all of the enemy goo that is hopping around on the map. If the goo touches the player’s Spitling even once, that part of the level must be restarted. This may sound frustrating (and at times, it can be); however, levels typically never take more than a couple of minutes to complete, and the process of getting hit by the goo and having to restart is very quick, making it easy to jump right back in.
Is this the end?
At the end of each 3-part level, a new Spitling and layout theme is unlocked. The cast of Spitlings is very cute, ranging from ones with big teeth, ones that look like sharks, and ones that are straight-up telephones or washing machines. There are 96 Spitlings to unlock, lending a “gotta-catch-em-all” element to the game.
In addition, the unlockable layout themes allow the player to instantly toggle through colour schemes that make up each level. It seems like a trivial feature, but it’s very fun being able to switch into a visually pleasing aesthetic of your favourite colours at a whim and see other colour schemes as they’re unlocked.
As you advance further in the game, the levels begin to alternate between “shoot as much spit as you can as quickly as you can”, to more legitimate puzzles at times. Stage hazards begin appearing, from blocks that all explode in a certain direction when hit, to spikes that also cause the player to restart the level when hit. This keeps the game from feeling too monotonous and adds a real sense of challenge in the later levels.
Despite this, about an hour into the game’s “Story Mode”, I started to feel a bit bored with the overall premise. Yes, the Spitlings are fun to collect, and the “story” of the game is told through small comics that are found between levels, but it still can’t seem to entirely break through the fundamental aspect of being pretty repetitive. The Spitlings never learn new abilities, and while new enemy goo forms occasionally appear as well as stage hazards, it’s never anything too groundbreaking.
I explored the “Party Mode” a bit as well, but it didn’t really seem to offer too much nuance from the “Story Mode”, aside from adding in a multiplayer component. Players can also play multiplayer on the “Story Mode”, but again, this doesn’t entirely eliminate the repetitive nature of the gameplay.
If anything, Spitlings is very relaxing to play. I can see it being great for people who are bored and need something light to occupy their time. While it may seem like it’d be a fun couch co-op game as well, there are plenty of other titles that come to mind that accomplish what Spitlings sets out to do much better. Despite this, the music is very fun to listen to as you button mash and watch all of the orbs of spit rain down and eliminate the evil goo on the screen, and the game is very aesthetically pleasing to look at. However, it leaves a bit to be desired in terms of engagement as the game goes on, and the novelty wears off pretty quickly.
[Reviewed on PC]