Spoiler Alert is a 2D side scrolling comedy platformer that has you running backward from right to left in very small levels. Why do you run backward? Because the start of the game kicks off with you completing the game. Then you’re forced to play the levels in rewind. Dead enemies will need to get hopped on to unkill them. Live enemies will need to get avoided. Transparent coins need to get collected and standard coins need to get avoided.
If you do something the game doesn’t want you to do, then it creates a ‘Time Paradox’ and you’re forced to restart the level. Each level runs for about 5 or 10 seconds, so its pretty easy to get right back where you were. Not just that, but the game is very easy. There are 90 levels broken into three worlds of 30 levels. Then on top of that there are 10 extra levels in the collector’s edition for only $4 more! Wow 100 levels you say? Sign me up! No, again they’re all around 10 seconds long, making for a game that you can complete all its content in under 30 minutes. Maybe 45 if you’re awful at the game.
Oh but wait, there’s a level editor so you can make your own levels! That sounds cool, but then you need to select a small, medium or large level. Even the largest level feels short. It feels like it should be a mobile game for how bare bones this is. The $3 price tag proves it is better suited for a mobile platform and not Steam. Think of the creative possibilities. You can make your own challenges, because the game sure didn’t do it for you! Game too easy? Well make a super difficult challenging level that’s over in a mere 10 seconds! Want a level full of exploration? Nope, you’re out of luck, because you’re stuck going one way at the game’s own pace.
The controls are super simple! Jump button and well… jump button. There is no actual movement like left or right, you’re stuck moving one way at the game’s pace. Not just that, but even when you step onto tiles that make you run fast (or slow in the bonus content), when you jump off them there’s no momentum. So you’re going fast and then you jump into a slow standard jump, then land and you’re going fast again. The game is super easy, so its not like you’ll get killed or anything.
Does only jumping sound dull? Well there are three power ups that consist of headgear! Amongst the three of them, they do two different things. The dragon head and hammer head will let you extinguish fireballs and blow out hammers that get thrown at you. The moon helmet lets you roll underneath of low platforms and spikes. To get them you need to jump on where they are and you’re forced to lose them when the game wants you to or else again, it will create a time paradox.
Man its so cool having a game this restrictive. You do exactly what it wants! Well except for the three secret blocks. You don’t need to get those. There’s no time paradox there.
At the end of each level, you’re greeted with a menu that lets you view your time, go to the next level, select a level or replay. It breaks the flow. Heck it buffers a 15 minute game into a longer game. Super Mario didn’t have something asking if you’d like to retry the level you’ve just beaten. I guess Spoiler Alert knows you want a perfect score with 0 time paradoxes. You’re obsessive. You speed run things all the time and want to shave seconds off your time… but well you’re stuck running at the same speed. The only way to shave those seconds off is to not die. So everyone will have the exact same time. You can also select any level you’ve unlocked.
Not only do you have to unkill enemies, but there are certain ones that when you unkill them they spawn back into their space ships on top of you. So you need to time your jumps to get on top of them before they reassemble. Not just that, but some dead enemies don’t need to get unkilled, even if they’re dead. How can you tell? Are they different colored or different enemies? Nope. You just jump over them so they can come back to life and throw a hammer at you. Then using one of the mandatory power ups, blow the hammer back at them. Because apparently whomever went through the game originally that the game doesn’t show you, must have thrown a hammer at an enemy to kill it.
Its a mind bending game. The power ups don’t really blow things out, because they must spit fire from the dragons head and throw hammers from the hammerhead. The fire isn’t aimed in the right direction though. Its coming from enemies when it should be coming from you. The hit detection is a little iffy too. Landing on spikes or getting a coin that you shouldn’t have will pause the game to tell you its a time paradox. Well in the pause I could see that I wasn’t touching spikes, nor did I collect a coin that I shouldn’t have. Hey whatever, it didn’t cost me ten minutes of gameplay.
I ended up replaying the game to get all of the achievements and it took me another 40 or so minutes. Hey at least its all the achievements in 90 minutes. The $3 or $7 for the collector’s edition really boils down to how do you value your time per dollar. Its a boring game, but you’re only there for 30 – 90 minutes in all. If you’re a creative person, you can get more out of the level editor, but there are better games with better level editors out there.
Avoid this game. Its a quick money grab with a gimmick. On a phone it might be worth it to play through if you’re stuck somewhere for 30 minutes. Who knows maybe you have an iPad that you’ll be stuck somewhere with. On a train, on a bus, in a car ride or a hot air balloon. You never know!