Developer: 36peas
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1.106
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Born out of the most recent Ludum Dare game jam, where developers had 48 hours to make a game based around the theme “you only get one,” One Spear Savage is a arena survival game about using a spear to survive against savages who also have spears. It’s a clever concept, but its herky-jerky gameplay hinders it.

OneSpearSavage_screenshot1In keeping with the theme, players get a spear. Only one. They toss it, and then have to go retrieve it. It’s kind of like Hoplite and its spear, except in a real-time game. Thus, every throw is fraught with risk: any toss leaves the player vulnerable, and a miss especially so. However, the enemies are under the dominion of the exact same rules. There are three game modes, including a standard “stay alive for as long as possible” one, a capture-the-flag mode where a point must be possessed to earn points, and a “death race” mode where traveling from waypoint to waypoint is necessary to earn more points. They’re all variations on the same game, but do add some necessary spice along with the various environments available.

OneSpearSavage_screenshot3The key hindrance that comes between One Spear Savage‘s concept and its ideal amount of fun is in the way spears are thrown. See, this requires tapping-and-dragging from the player character, which effectively stops him from moving. Thus, the game becomes very stop-and-go, and there’s not much flow or momentum to the proceedings. Any kind of movement is just to stay alive, and then it’s about stopping and firing. And if the player and an enemy fire at the same time, they both die, pretty much. As well, while I understand the game has its origins in a game jam game and my expectations are not that high, the visuals still feel a bit too spartan for my tastes.

One Spear Savage is a good idea, and hey, at least it’s not another game with virtual joysticks. But I just never quite enjoyed it as much as I wanted to.


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