Is weird good? Well, in some cases, the weirder something is, the better.
Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition is downright weird. So weird in fact that I sometimes wonder what on earth goes through the head of a developer when they decide to sit down and brainstorm a game. I mean, who in their right mind would come up with an idea in which you and your superhero flying dog kill enemies by throwing super powerful lichtspeers in the direction of giant German ogres, flying dogs, evil zombies, walruses on skateboards and penguins harnessing the power of rocket cannons?
Well that’s what the team at Crunching Koalas have gone and done, and yes, without beating around the bush anymore than I have, it’s as god damn weird as you can imagine. But it’s also a hell of a lot of fun, especially in local co-op.
Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition is an action arcade title in which you find yourself thrown into a strange ancient Germanic future, kitted out with a lightspear and left to travel lands taken straight out of Germanic mythology, in order to prove yourself as a Germonaut to the almighty Gods. Whilst that is in no way a sensible down-to-earth story, it matters little really, because Lichtspeer isn’t a sensible down-to-earth game.
You may well expect to find Lichtspeer tasking you with traversing platforms, but this fun little title sees you stuck rigidly in one spot, before throwing lightspears the way of anything that comes at you. Should you fail, and let any of the numerous foes get within striking distance, then you are left to respawn and exact your revenge, trying in vain to work out the faster, most successful way of throwing spears and ensuring your safety.
With the A button controlling your throw, and your left stick defining its arc, it doesn’t take too long at all to get the hang of Lichtspeering, and once you get to grips with the simple mechanics, will find a game that is hugely addictive – if only because you will constantly feel that every single death can, in some way, be avoided. With your spear upgradable, allowing for it to be split into 3s and 5s on demand, or transformed into a hammer, there is a great deal of strategy included in Lichtspeer as you go about picking off head shots and pushing back your opponents as well as you can. Further abilities with cooldown times attached can also be added to other face buttons, with shields, massively powerful light columns or the ability to rain hell down on everything on screen, being the most useful of all abilities. In order to unlock these though you’ll need to visit the local friendly shopkeeper, who obviously needs recompense for any such upgrade. Thankfully coinage in the form of LSD is readily available for anyone managing to pull of a stage completion, hitting various objectives in the process. Levels are easily available for replaying too, so it doesn’t take too much effort in order to see your little Germonaut begin to kit himself out as a super powerful spear throwing machine.
But things would get boring real quick should Crunching Koalas just throw you into standard left to right spear throwing stages after each other and thankfully they have seen sense to mix and match levels up cleverly, sometimes seeing you placed on the right of the screen firing left, other times shooting up or down a slope, or even allowing you to drop terror on enemies below you. With camera placements also seemingly zooming in or out for various levels, what you may think is a quick walk in the spear throwing park, very quickly turns into a quick fire, super tense affair which will have you testing both the dexterity of your fingers, and the quick thinking of your mind.
See, very rarely will you find a moment’s peace in Lichtspeer, with enemies coming at you with all manner of shape, size and power. Some will run fast, and others will stumble slowly towards you; you’ll quickly understand that headshots are key to any form of success, with some of the God’s minions not flinching at anything below neck line. This ensures that precision very quickly becomes key in a world of manicness, but thanks to some rather brilliant but simple spear throwing mechanics, sees this game comes across as a tremendous attempt. And that’s without mentioning the great variety found in the occasional boss too.
You will find that there is a huge amount of joy available from the single player run through of Lichtspeer, however the option to drop a local co-op friend in and out of any stage is a great one – seeing the enemy types coming at you with gusto. Thankfully your cooperative partner comes in the form of your magical flying Wunderhund – yes, a dog – who is equally as adept at throwing spears as you are. He also comes with a Wunderhund Fury super move, pretty much ensuring that anything in his way is zapped from the strange lands in an instant, and this sees the co-op mode being just as big a success as that of the solo player. It’s superb fun to cooperate well with your loving hound, and should you find yourself stuck and unable to progress in a solo manner, may well find that a little help is all you need in order to whizz on through.
All of Lichtspeer is played out with a pretty damn lovely visual style that oozes quality. Whilst full on highly detailed gaming graphics are the way of the world nowadays, Lichtspeer does away with that and instead focuses on sharp clean lines, plenty of colour and just enough detail for you to completely understand what is needed. I have to applaud Crunching Koalas for having the know-how and guts to develop a title with such a delightful visual style, for yet again the simplicity of it all just works.
So with the visuals out of the way, I guess that leaves me to chat a little about the audio – you won’t be surprised to hear that it is of the highest quality too. Created by Marcin Sonnenberg, you’ll be treated to disco beats, electro space marches and stunning technocumbria tunes, with a different backing soundtrack accompanying your adventures at every stage. If the actual gameplay wasn’t enticing enough, the music certainly draws you in to the wonderfully strange world.
All in all and Crunching Koalas have pulled one out of the bag with Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition. It’s super addictive, has stunning visuals, a soundtrack to die for and delivers one hell of a fun gameplay experience that just ramps up even more when played in local co-op. Other than being a little tricky for any solo player to complete alone, there is very little to not like about this spear throwing simulator, and with the promise of Rage Quit and New Game+ modes enticing anyone back once the campaign is complete, should deliver many an hour of gameplay goodness.
Yes it’s weird, but in the case of Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition, weird is good. Very good.