Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spartans In Candyland (XBLIG): "THIS ISN'T SPARTAAAAAA! It's A CTF Shmup!"

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play a shmup (shoot 'em up) that featured CTF (Capture the Flag) gameplay along with a Spartans versus Aliens conflict? Well if you have, Marklund Games (the developer) has an answer for you with their latest dual thumbstick shmup/CTF hybrid, "Spartans in Candyland! This one to four player game features a unique roster of four half naked (according to the developer ^.^) gun carrying Spartans who's sole purpose is to survive the constant attacks of swarming Candyland aliens. You have at your disposal (upon pick up) a variety of weapons that include a flamethrower, rocket launcher, grenade launcher, scout rifle, shotgun, and two special abilities (varies per Spartan). The battlefield in which this games unique war takes place is a suburban setup that is 3D in nature, and features a labyrinth style layout filled with parked cars, buildings, and gigantic sweet deserts. The enemies are plenty, but vary little in design. The longer you survive the game the more difficult the aliens will become to kill. Your goal/purpose in this madness is to capture highlighted areas for points which appear at random locations on the map.

The goal, or aim of "Spartans in Candyland" is to capture as many circular areas that feature an orange, or blue Spartan insignia. There are two arrows on the game's hub that allow you to easily find where each Spartan insignia/capture area is going to be. Each capture area in the game will reward you with a certain number of points if you can stay within the circle long enough to capture it. The capture areas will display a bar that will empty out as you spend time in that area. It's a sort of countdown meter. Once the meter is empty you will be rewarded your points, and a new set of two capture areas will be placed randomly on the large map. Within each given capture area are some health refills, and weapon power-ups that can be obtained by simply walking over them. Each weapon in the game has a certain amount of ammo that is displayed by an icon that becomes colorless as you use it up, so picking up new weapons occasionally is a must. As you make your way across the map to each capture circle you will be swarmed by aliens that come in small, and large sizes. You can kill off the enemies with your weapons, and use two abilities that offer both a special defense/offense type of attack to aid you in your attempt to do so. These two special abilities can only be used once their icons have been filled with color. This happens over a certain amount of time, or when you've killed enough aliens.Avoiding death by aliens, and capturing the highlighted areas is your main focus in this shmup.

Spartans in Candyland is both a unique experience, and an enjoyable shmup adventure that will last as long as you or your friends can survive. The game itself is accented by a simple yet, beautiful visual display of colors, aliens, Spartans, and Candyland structures. The soundtrack that plays throughout the game offers a good variety of music that is the most amazing I have heard in an indie game so far this year. The game's unique take on the shmup genre is executed in a very user friendly manner that suffers from no real problems, or issues except for the occasional lag. The single player mode which I played for this review is very fun, and just as enjoyable as I imagine the multiplayer mode would be. I managed to stay alive for over 30 minutes, and accumulate a score of 37,500 (in singleplayer). I could have kept on going if I hadn't of made the mistake of backing myself in a corner like I did (X_x). In conclusion I definitely think this game is worthy of a purchase. If you're into shmups like me, or are just searching for a good party style game then you cannot go wrong with this indie title.

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