Lemmings is a wonderful classic computer game, and it's spawned many, many clones. One of my absolute favourite new interpretations of Lemmings is Spirits, a beautiful Android app that is reminiscent of a Gibli Studio / Miyazaki film, as WIRED quite correctly points out. Let's find out more in today's review.
With some games you just know they're gonna be good. A number of things can inspire this feeling in you, a great gameplay, awesome graphics or just the overall charm and feel of a game. Spirits has something going for itself in all three of the above mentioned categories.
As mentioned in the intro, Spirits is inspired by the Lemmings gameplay. The objective is to escort all of the characters to the goal. Every character can be used in order to accomplish a mission. Lemmings can dig, build stairwells or set up obstacles.
Spirits is very much the same. Picture this: it's autumn, the leaves are gently floating to the ground—but then the leaves transform into little spirits or ghosts, and it's up to you to help them make their way towards a sort of whirlwind. Speaking of wind, this seems to be the most important element in the spirit world. It can help get the little ghosts to where there going (for instance when they need to overcome an obstacle). But the wind can also prove to be an obstacle itself. For instance, it will blow your ghosts onto a patch of deadly thorns. Luckily, ghosts can turn into little clouds and blow in a given direction. When you advance further in the game you will find that you can also block the wind. The wind is one of the most exciting elements in the gameplay.
Spirits can also dig and build bridges out of leaves.
If all of this sounds naively simple, that's because it is in some ways, but the levels are actually quite challenging, especially when you're set on “using up” the least amount of ghosts possible, but want to collect all the plants (items) throughout a level...
Granted, Spirits is reminiscent of Lemmings. However, the look and feel of the game is totally its own and rather unique, plus it's good fun to boot. We enjoyed it!
Screen & Controls
First off: controls are simple and very well made. Ghosts move about independently and if you want them to do something specific you tap them and then choose an action and a direction. The ghosts do as they're told but sometimes you have to be quick about it as the other ghosts are often close behind.
The graphic design is wonderful and Spirits really stands out thanks to its visual dimension. It has that hand-drawn look but not in a typical cartoon kind of way. If you're familiar with Miyazaki's films I think you'll find some correlation to the Spirits imagery. Check out the video and our screenshots to get a better idea.
The music is equally nice and sets the mood for the rest of the game.
Speed & Stability
Spirits did not crash at all and proved to be very stabile. It performed nicely on both the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1. At times (especially when a lot of wind animations were being shown) it seemed somewhat less smooth on the Galaxy Tab.
Spirits is available for €2.30 from the Google Play Store. That's not exactly peanuts (in terms of app prices in general), but the game is great fun with a truly unique design.