Review written by
December 21st, 2014
Many of the medium's biggest names have inspired their fair share of copycats. Flappy Bird, from which Spikey Walls 'borrows' its inspiration, is a recent example of this. When Flappy Bird entered the public eye at the beginning of this year, it inspired waves of clones on mobile platforms, PC, and consoles. Thanks to the GamePad and touchscreen the Wii U seems like a natural fit for a Flappy inspired game and apparently RCMADIAX thought the same thing. Spikey Walls has some big shoes to fill and I'm here to find out if it's worth picking up over the dozens of Flappy clones available on mobile platforms.
If you're familiar with Flappy Bird, then you should already know what to expect going in. The game's objective is to keep your character, a fly, from running into any of the spiked walls or from falling off the bottom of the screen. Your character gains altitude by pressing the A button and begins losing altitude when you stop. The game itself is endless, so the ultimate goal of the game boils down to setting a high score and then striving to beat that score. While I normally have no issue with this type of game, since Spikey Walls only saves a single score, it makes it impossible to really track your progression. On top of only saving one score, the game doesn't offer any leaderboard support either, with the closest thing being the ability to post your high scores to the Miiverse. Spikey Walls also offers nothing to do outside of score attacks, with no collectables or unlockables available in the game. Thanks to this the game ends up being ultimately shallow and boring. Without any real online leaderboard support and only being able to save a single score, the game ends up falling flat and fails to capitalize on what should have been an addictive game.
Since the game takes its inspiration from Flappy Bird, you would expect it to offer more in the way of touch screen controls. This isn't the case though, the only touch screen support are on the title screen and during the game over screen. Minimal application of the touch screen and only using a single button is disappointing, no other controllers are supported. This is really a missed opportunity, if you are going to force your player to use the GamePad, why wouldn't you take advantage of the touch screen? The GamePad does nothing but mirror what is displayed on the screen.
If the monotonous and shallow gameplay weren't bad enough, the presentation package manages to be even worse. While Flappy Bird offered a modicum of charm thanks to its colorful sprite art, the same can't be said of Spikey Walls. The graphics are just plain ugly, and the uninspired palette doesn't help. The limited number of colors on the screen offers one of the most limited selections on Nintendo's HD console, so going into this if you're not a fan of gray you aren't going to enjoy the visuals here.
The audio on offer manages to meet or exceed the expectations already set by the game. Spikey Walls features a single track that is used for both the title screen and gameplay. The single track is only a few seconds long and loops endlessly. I understand that expecting an epic score for this type of game is ridiculous, but even with a limited budget it would have been nice to get more than one piece of music. This is the type of game you are meant to play over and over again, but this isn't the audio package I would expect for something that, at its nature, is supposed to be this addictive.
I could keep on about Spikey Walls if I really wanted to, but it all boils down to the fact that it is simply not a good game. The lazy graphics and insulting audio presentation just lead me to believe that this game was an afterthought. Spikey Walls exists for no other reason than to capitalize on a fad. This is lazy game design at its worst and I hope that Wii U owners will vote with their wallets and show developers that this isn't what we want to see on the eShop.
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