One signature characteristic of many indie games is that they take a tried-and-true mechanic and turn it into something fresh and distinctive by subverting it. We’ve seen numerous examples of this with games like Half Minute Hero, Braid, or Life Goes On. The latest example of this technique is Spoiler Alert Collector’s Edition, which was created in Steam Workshop from Gamemaker: Studio by Steam user Thaudal. Now it’s for sale on the main page, so let’s see what kind of impression it makes.
In Spoiler Alert, you play as a brave chili pepper who begins the game on the final stage; defeating a final boss and rescuing the princess. So far, so generic. Then, you are tasked with retracing steps you haven’t actually taken. So, gameplay consists of un-getting coins, un-jumping on dead enemies, and un-avoiding backwards-flying projectiles. It’s basically like a Runner game except nowhere near as difficult and in reverse, and its central conceit works pretty well for what it’s worth.
While playing, the screen continuously scrolls from right to left, which means you need to be ready for whatever is ahead/behind you. The primary/sole skill required in Spoiler Alert is timing; timing your jumps and moves. It can be a little frustrating early on having to redo a level because your timing was off, but it’s far from egregious for a couple of reasons. First, after some practice you do get the hang of it, and second, levels are extremely short so you’re never losing more than about 15 seconds of progress.
The whole game consists of 4 worlds, each containing 30 levels within. As mentioned above, each individual level only takes seconds to complete, so this is a game you can beat in well under an hour. That’s not necessarily a bad thing depending on your preferences, but don’t go in expecting a whole lot of variety. This is a game that does one thing well and rides that out to the end. Frankly, if it were much longer it would likely burn through what charm it has and just become tedious.
Even though Spoiler Alert was created using Steam tools, this is a game that feels out of place in such a market. Where it would thrive is in the mobile market, and in fact I’m more than a little shocked to not see it there. The simple controls and bright visuals are seemingly tailor-made for that platform, and it almost feels like a wasted opportunity to see it buried on Steam.
Once you’ve beaten the main game, there are a few options available to you. One is to try your hand at speedrunning the game; timing your jumps and moves perfectly to get it all right the first time. Another option is to try out the level editor through Steam Workshop. The editor is easy to use and allows you to create some pretty neat little levels, but it serves as more of a novelty than anything else.
Spoiler Alert is regular priced at $7.99 on Steam. Considering how little content there is, it might be a little steep for this type of game. Then again, if you’re into using level editors to create custom areas, then it could hold some added value for you. All in all, it’s a decent enough platformer on PC that would be just dynamite on an iOS or Android device.
[+Clever premise] [+Colorful] [+Challenging but not frustrating] [-Can be beaten in minutes] [-PC not ideal platform] [-Not much beyond main game]