Unspottable is another entry into the bulging Xbox couch multiplayer genre. Coming from GrosChevaux, Unspottable charges you and up to three friends to be the last person standing in the variety of different arenas. So, is this better than Cake Bash, the current darling of Xbox social evenings, or should it have stayed in the stable?
The first thing you have to consider is the story of Unspottable. Well, actually, that’s a lie, as apart from a short trailer there doesn’t appear to be much of a story at all in this game. You don’t really need a story though, for all you need to worry about is that there are whole host of robots because, well, reasons, and they also all look alike.
Now, the kicker is that no matter which character you choose in the main menu, you also look identical to the robots, and so do the other human players. As you can imagine, when a round starts trying to find out which one of the many identical character models responds to your controller inputs, without also making it obvious to the other contestants who you are, is the real trick to this game. For instance, the easy way to find yourself is to run in circles – something the AI never does – but your opponents also know this and will home in on you like a heat seeking missile.
There are a lot of stages to have a crack at in Unspottable, and there are also a number of ways to win. You can do it the old-fashioned way, by figuring out who is human and punching them very hard, but you’ll need to be sure of your target however, as punching and either hitting a robot – or even worse, punching and missing – leaves you frozen and vulnerable for a short period of time. And that’s just about enough time for your intended target to turn around and punch you, in fact!
Other than the inevitable bout of fisticuffs that most matches seem to devolve into, the stages also come with some extra objectives. These range from collecting ingredients in the supermarket level, and then casually walking out of the door, to talking to four cool kids in the schoolyard level and then sneaking out of the school gate. If you succeed in achieving one of the secondary objectives, then you are awarded two points instead of the usual one point for KO’ing a competitor, so its worth trying to do. Just remember to try and look like you are AI combatant as you go, otherwise you’ll find yourself on the wrong end of a good thumping!
Graphically, Unspottable is simple, with many, many identical character models running about hither and yon. The action is viewed from above, and in some levels, without a word of a lie, it’s impossible to find yourself. The worst culprit for this the Factory level, as it seems to be viewed from slightly further away and so it makes spotting not only yourself, but also the other players, a real task. The only way I have ever won a match on this arena was when a giant press squashed a competitor as he was looking for himself. Handily, if you are killed by a bot or by the environment, you do lose a point off your score, so it can be a good way to stretch one’s lead.
Sound-wise there is literally nothing memorable about the game apart from a meaty “Thwack” as you punch something, and with certain levels having sound cues in, like the gymnasium level. The instructor will count down from three, then every bot in the room will punch, so make sure you aren’t near anyone else on the count of three, or it may be you losing a point.
In conclusion then and Unspottable on Xbox does bring some new ideas to the table which work in short blasts, or in longer blasts that are fuelled by social lubricant. But it does get quite old, quite fast. It’s not that it is a bad game; it’s just that the secondary objectives tend to go out of the window once the sleeves are rolled up, and every match fast turns into a slug-fest as you try to punch the right people. It’s not helped by the fact that there is not enough variety in the game modes, especially when you compare it to the genre leaders. With no online play possible either and, most damning of all, absolutely no single player content, in this climate this is a game that will possibly struggle long-term.
There are better party games, and there are worse party games, but with current social restrictions in place as I write this review, a local multiplayer-only game is a hard sell.