ESRB Rating: E10+
Review by: Kevin Haverty
“Make a Mess!” the back of the box declares. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea for Eko to follow that motto when developing the SPRay. Spirited Prince Ray (SPRay, get it?) follows the adventures of a young prince who must save the village when Queen Mordack attacks. Ray is accompanied by two spirits that assist Ray by vomiting or spraying a variety of liquids.
The game starts by requiring 128 blocks for a save file, which is way too much for an adventure game on a system with very limited memory.
SPRay does an awful job at guiding the player. During missions there is an arrow that does direct the player, but it doesn’t work all the time. The camera is a nightmare. The only control the player has over it is to center it behind the character, but the camera is finicky whether it actually centers or just stays in its undesirable spot. The camera will harshly shift in some areas and then cause an issue with how the controls orientate which usually results in accidental death. The platforming in SPRay is interesting but the combination of awful camera and horrible controls make even the simplest platforming a frustrating experience. Combat is simplistic and annoying. Z locks on to an enemy and swinging the remote makes Ray strike. Enemies can be defeated without locking on but then it takes more than double the number of hits. If there are more than a few enemies on screen, slowdown occurs.
Co-op is offered on the fly just in case there is a friend who wishes to suffer through SPRay too. The second player takes control of the spray while the first player continues to control Ray. With the broken camera and bad controls, trying to coordinate playing with another player is hopeless. The level of frustration this causes in immeasurable. If punishing friends one at a time in co-op isn’t efficient enough, SPRay offers several ‘multiplayers’ [sic] games based on the different spray abilities to help share the pain.
SPRay excels in the “number of bugs that made it into the retail version of a game” category. Some bugs make beating a level impossible but can be circumvented by restarting the level. There is a room where Ray gets locked in until he defeats an enemy. On repeat plays the enemy doesn’t spawn leaving Ray locked in this room. Other bugs cause the game to freeze and require a reboot. Ray will fall through some solid surfaces to his death. It seems like Eko knew these issues existed because the game has a very liberal respawn policy. There was a glitch where a timer stayed on the screen well after the timed event, then blocked information necessary to progress in the level. Other glitches exist where crucial items won’t spawn/respawn resulting in the game becoming unbeatable and requiring the player to the start the whole game over. Patching isn’t possible on the Wii so Eko/Tecmo can’t fix these issues. To sell a game as broken as this is unacceptable, irresponsible and a slap to the face of anyone who purchases SPRay.
Fore more info, www.tecmogames.com