I’m not particularly a fan of World Of Warcraft. But LCD Game & Watch games? I love those. So what happens when the two worlds collide?
Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy: On the plus side
How can you not love that title alone? For that matter, how can you not love the trailer?
Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy is an LCD “Demake”, which is to say it’s a slightly parodic riff on mindless grind quests in World of Warcraft set against the kinds of gameplay limitations that classic Game & Watch titles had due to the limits of technology of the time. It’s a dual-screen affair, with the bottom screen allowing you only to use daggers to take down goblins, while the top screen opens up your powers to allow your magic staff to take down minions and the evil boss character, all with a delightfully bleepy-bloopy style soundtrack.
Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy looks right, in other words, if you’re a fan of old school Game & Watch games, while offering just a little bit more variety than any Game & Watch title could have managed. When you die, your ghost has to wander back to your body before you can start adventuring again. You go on quests, and they’re rewarded with a variety of magical boosts. There’s even a terrifying boss character that takes some serious beating, something that would have been outside the scope of even the most ambitious Game & Watch title.
Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy: On the minus side
There’s no doubting that Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy isn’t a terribly serious game, and there’s a place for comedy within gaming, but you’ve got to make sure that the joke lasts long enough. I’m happy enough within the digital confines of LCD gaming, but coming at it from the World Of Warcraft end, I could see the joke wearing thin rather quickly.
Being an iPad game means Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy isn’t terribly portable; while the dual screen nature wouldn’t seem to suit a smartphone display, there’s no straight interplay between the top and bottom screens, which means it could have been feasible to run each screen as its own game on a smaller and more portable device. Games like this are ideal for quick pickup play, but that’s not always what you’ll do with an iPad.
Then there’s the controls. They’re not complex — a single button and a D-pad — but it feels almost as if they’ve gone out of their way to recreate the slightly-squishy-not-always-responsive feel that you’d get out of a Game & Watch game if somebody had seriously hammered the buttons. It is rather retro-authentic, but at the same time it’s a bit annoying to get killed by a goblin because the controls didn’t move you properly.
Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy: Pricing
Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy currently costs 99c, which is stated as being a launch 66% discount, so it could well be $2.99 by the time you read this.
Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy: Alex’s verdict
I’m probably coming at Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy from the opposite side to most gamers. I’ve never been grabbed by World Of Warcraft in any real way, but I do love my Game & Watch collection. Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy captures the core gameplay aesthetic of those classic titles very well indeed, and it’ll appeal more to my crowd, I suspect, than the MMO generation, for whom it’ll seem like a quaint one-note joke.
At the 99c price point there’s utterly nothing wrong with it if you realise what you’re getting. At $2.99 I’d be slightly more hesitant to buy it, if only because there’s a lot of competition at that kind of price point.