Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition – The Switch Island Review
Have you ever wanted to play in a futuristic version of ancient Germany, as a light-spear wielding warrior bent on overcoming waves of zombie Elvises? Of course you have, and now’s your chance: Lichtspeer lets millions live the dream. Finally.
The game plays a bit like a tower defence game, albeit one without the construction aspect (…so, it’s a ‘defence’ game?). Your hero is rooted to the spot and has to throw das lichtspeers at the waves and waves of approaching enemies. The players control the angle of the spears, which fly in satisfying parabolic arcs. It’s a very simple premise dressed-up in a weird, amusing future-past Germanic theme. The amazing thing is how well it all works.
We played the whole game in co-op. The second player plays as a winged dog that hovers above the main hero because… of course they do. It is stressful – in a fun way – with all the enemies approaching, and you have to get the throws just right to take them out. You gradually get better, improving the rate of spear throws and improving accuracy. I also had fun challenging myself getting head-shots from long distances. You get rewarded with points too, in an arcade sort of way. These points come in the form of ‘LSD’ that can be traded for upgrades at a shop.
There is a surprising amount of longevity to the quest. There are thirteen worlds, each with five levels. Each world has a slightly different theme, some looking better than others. Some of the themes work better than others too, with an occasional tendency for one player’s spear to blend with the background. But this doesn’t ruin the experience by any means, it would just be nice to perhaps be able to change the spear colours if you need to.
The difficulty was spot-on for us, with just enough challenge. The difficulty curve is just right too. As you progress, there’s a good mix of changes, like having to deal with enemies from both directions, as well as some surprising twists to the formula I won’t spoil. New enemy types are incrementally revealed as you progress too, which keeps things fresh.
Once you complete the main story you can choose to play through on NewGame+ mode, which changes the patterns of enemies and makes the bosses harder. And if you complete that you can then play on RageQuit mode, which is even harder still. And then there’s RageQuit+ mode, for the already incarcerated. We never felt like rage quitting on our journey through the game, and a big factor to help with that is how quickly you restart after a setback. Like Celeste, you don’t really lose anything by dying, you just have to choose whether to try the level again. If you went back to the start of the world like in, say, Super Mario World, you’d probably throw a few joy-cons around. And for the diehard completionists, there is also the extra challenge of trying to get gold; each world has bronze, silver and gold challenges, for example ‘don’t die on level 4’. We died on level 4, and got bronze.
This game really surprised us. It’s odd as hell, but the silly humour really appealed to me. We were challenged but not to the point of aggravation, and there’s plenty of opportunities for replays with the extra challenges. For a co-op experience, it really is quite difficult to fault. It remains to be seen how often we’ll jump back in, but then those walruses with rocket launchers aren’t going to spear themselves… das ist gut. Ja.