By Brett Wolfe
Reviewed on Xbox One
Released on March 18th, 2016 on Xbox One (Also Available on PC)
Developer: Rusto Publisher: Rusto
Spareware is a top-down shoot ‘em up developed and published by Rusto. This title puts the player in the role of a robotic mercenary in a dystopian future. Each level has you traverse a futuristic metropolis known as Helsinki. The main goal of this game is to get to the center of the city to destroy the core.
The game mechanics of Spareware are quite expansive. It features a co-op campaign in addition to the single player campaign. The co-op campaign is the same storyline as the single player version, but with drop-in, drop-out coop. Each of the robots that you take control of have a large number of customizations. You can customize the head, right hand, and left hand which will give extra benefits to the character. The different heads can result with benefits from speed boost to a healing factor. Each hand can hold a varieties of weaponry. The weapons are unlocked throughout the campaign and range from a flechette and bolter to a rocket launcher and grenade launcher. The latter two are run-of-the-mill weaponry that are featured in a variety of shoot ‘em ups and shooters alike. The first two; however, are advanced versions of a shotgun and assault rifle. Each character also can go down three different skill trees. There is a support tree, a juggernaut tree, and scout tree. The support tree is better for the co-op gameplay as you can aid your teammates. The juggernaut tree is great for single player gameplay as it boosts your health and the scout tree can be for either or and as it helps identify key points that are on the map. This is good and all; however, to use these upgrades it costs energy. This energy is used on both the customization and to access the next level in the game. The map of the overall city is set up as a grid and you can choose between a couple different missions and each mission will cost a differing amount of energy. The way to earn energy is to finish the mission and to do certain side missions during the level.
My experience with this was not a pleasant one. The game was interesting at first, but I found it got extremely repetitive and not too enjoyable to play. Each level seemed like the last with a small change and I was not having fun after a couple hours. The levels just seemed to melt into one another and I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference between level 1 and level 5. I wouldn’t count it against them unless I see it happens to a larger group, but after about 2 hours of gameplay, the game crashed repeatedly.
The replayability with this game could be rather high if you and your friends enjoy the game. I personally wouldn’t get much out of this, but the co-op could provide more fun than the single player. The single player gets old fast and I wouldn’t see making it through another playthrough if I beat the first one.
In the end, I would steer away from this one. I feel that it is not that enjoyable of an experience and purchasing it wouldn’t get its money worth. The gameplay isn’t that great, the visuals are subpar, and even the achievement hunter in you wouldn’t get anything out of it. So, unless you are really looking for something to play and cannot find anything else, steer clear. Unfortunately, this game was not as good as it should have been.
Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 3.5/10