148Apps Network Post
Developer: Hocobi
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

When spies and double-agents get found out or captured by the enemy, someone has to go in and save them. But who’s equipped to handle that kind of rescue? Why, another spy of course. But not just any old spy. A situation like that calls for the kind of agent that relies more on natural skill and their environment than fancy gizmos.

SpySpy (also known as SpyforSpy) is a kind of mash-up of platforming, enemy avoidance, timing and strategy. The goal is to reach every tied-up agent on the level and set them free while gathering data from computer terminals along the way. This will require players to jump over obstacles and gaps, plan their path through a level carefully and avoid enemies by ducking into special hiding spots or flat-out running. Freeing the other spies is the main goal here; grabbing files from computers is only needed to earn the maximum rating (three stars) for a level.

There’s a good deal of personality and humor to be found in the various characters’ illustrations. Especially the main spy’s. It’s harder to notice at a distance but there’s a handy zoom-in button (handy for those more incremental moves) that makes drinking in the details much easier. Of course, then the overly-simple animations become more obvious. I was also fairly surprised to find that playing the game entertained me in a way that, up until now, was exclusive to Elevator Action. Perhaps it’s the spy theme or the tiered levels, I dunno. But I honestly had a good deal of fun playing it. For a while.

Problem is, the controls in SpySpy need some fine-tuning. It’s too easy to run accidentally (right into an enemy/obstacle, no less), and I’m always getting stuck on ladders. In the early stages this isn’t such a big deal but as levels become more complex it becomes a real issue. When the timing between patrols requires precision timing, the last thing anyone needs is to get tripped up by unresponsive controls. I’m hoping Hocobi will fix it in the future, but right now it’s kind of a serious problem that sucks the fun out of the experience.

There’s a ton of potential in SpySpy. The more forgiving early stages are proof of this. However, until the controls get a tweaking (at least let us get off of ladders without having to climb all the way to the bottom) I can’t really call it a “must play.” Maybe more like “must watch.”

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