Indie games have been one of my go to sources for games to play with my family over the last generation. Spitlings from publisher HandyGames and developer Massive Miniteam is the latest one to come across my radar. It’s a chaotic action arcade game that supports 1-4 players either locally or online. Is it worth your time as a solo player or with friends?
Spitlings are the little creatures you play as in this game and they are best described as cute little rectangular figures that spit out teeth in order to defeat enemies and to get a boost. Yeah that sounds pretty ridiculous I know. The game has a single-player mode but it alone wouldn’t be worth recommending this game for. It basically follows a few of the Spitlings as they try to retake their hometown from goop bubbles that have taken it over. The story is told through colorful comic book panels that are drawn pretty well and help give the mode some purpose.
Each of the 100+ stages in the game consists of a single screen where you have to eliminate the bubbles to pass. To do this you have to spit your teeth upwards at them but you only have so many you can spit out. You can gain some back by picking them up from around the stage or by remaining still for a period of time. You can also give yourself a jump boost by spitting your teeth downwards. Enemies can kill you in one hit and as you attack them, they can sometimes split into multiple smaller versions. This means you constantly have to be aware as to not die which you will likely do a lot as I did. When you have a lot of enemies to take on one of the cool tricks you can do is spit your teeth onto a surface. They will then drop down after a period of time which can allow you to take out enemies while you are doing something else. The levels in the story mode are varied enough as to not feel too alike but this game is much better experienced in multiplayer.
The multiplayer can be played with up to four players either locally or online. One of the unfortunate things about the online though is that there is no matchmaking so it’s up to you to find players to invite and play with. As far as what you can do, you have the full story mode and party mode that you can play with your friends. I played this with my wife and kid and I found it to be much more enjoyable this way. Having multiple players on-screen makes it all much more interesting but keep in mind that if one player dies then all players are reset. Now you have even more reasons to get mad at your co-op partners.
As far as other things to call out the game has around 100 Spitlings you can unlock and play as all with their own goofy looks. The party mode lets you pick any level to play and also has some modifiers you can enable to change things up. You can set rounds and enable time trials and set lives. The modifiers include things like Tank Mode which makes players really heavy but also makes your shots hit harder. Desert Mode gives you double spit power but causes you to fail if you run out of spit. Retro Arcade applies a retro filter and causes you to jump extra high instead of spitting down. There’s quite a few more than that and I like that they were here to provide more variety to the experience.
The visuals in the game mostly consist of levels made up of full simple colors as you can see in the screenshots here. It’s pretty basic and nothing special but it gets the job done. The last two things I’ll mention is the trophy list and a feature that isn’t in the game yet. On the main menu there is an option for a level editor but as of this time it hasn’t yet been added to the game. When it is it will be interesting to see the kinds of levels that others online can come up with. The trophy list consists of 29 trophies including a Platinum. Most of the list is pretty easy and consists of beating all the story levels and doing a lot of things a culminative amount of times. The hardest ones to earn will be beating all of the B-side stages which will be quite the challenge.
My overall impression of Spitlings is that if you play solo you should probably skip it but if you have friends, either locally or online, you can have some fun with it. The art style is simple but effective and there is a good amount of levels to play with some fun modifiers to enable to help change things up.
*Spitlings is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.