1001 Spikes Review: It’s all About Spikes and Skills

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Title: 1001 Spikes
Price: $14.99
System(s): Vita (Also on 3DS, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PC)
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher (Developer): Nicalis (Nicalis)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Violence, Blood, and Mild Language

Nicalis has a history of bringing unexpected, indie gems to larger audiences. With games like Cave Story, NightSky, La-Mulana, VVVVVV, and now 1001 Spikes, it’s given gamers on all platforms an array of differing experiences to enjoy. 1001 Spikes is an unexpected and demanding delight.

1001 spikes

Treasure hunting in South America

Jim Hawkins went searching for Ukampan treasures in South American ruins years ago, but never returned. Probably because it was quite possibly the most dangerous place in the world. Yet, his children persevered. And so, 1001 Spikes begins with his son, Aban Hawkins, as he heads off to go find his father, adventure, and perhaps even treasure as well.

Which means one of the most dangerous platforming adventures players may encounter this year. Using two different kinds of jumps, swift reflexes, and a gun, Aban and almost 24 other, unlockable characters will face unimaginable dangers.

1001 spikes

It’s not cheap, though you’ll wish it was so you had someone to blame.

Let me tell you a little 1001 Spikes story. It’s the tale of how I lost my first life. I was going through one of the first few levels, just after spikes were introduced. I was running along, trying to time it just right so I wouldn’t be caught unawares by any popping out. All of a sudden, spikes appeared out of nowhere and ripped Aban apart. I may have cursed, made a note of it, and jotted down a note about the game being cheap.

Except it wasn’t. When the level restarted, I neared that part, noted where the surprise spikes appeared, and realized I died because I wasn’t paying attention. The block from which said killers appeared were clearly telegraphed, because their block was identical to the blocks from which the other spikes sprang.

It’s a lesson that’s often repeated in 1001 Spikes, and a reason why I believe the 2D, retro-fabulous look works for the game. The pixelated look is perfect for helping people build their survival skills with the game. You’ll recognize enemy designs, block patterns, and such, and those graphics will help keep you alive.

1001 Spikes‘s design choices aren’t just about functionality, though. It’s about style too. Nicalis proves you can get a lot of detail and personality into characters and areas with sprite based games, especially since each character has his (or her) own cutscenes. Not to mention, it’s set to a a fantastic, chiptune soundtrack. It’s the best sounding, most frustrating game you’ll ever play.

1001 spikes

Skillfully running and jumping to success.

1001 Spikes is something special. There are a lot of games out there designed to offer tough-as-nails, Nintendo hard experiences. The problem is, many are more troll games than they are experiences that actually challenge a player and require skill to succeed. 1001 Spikes is no troll game. Pick it up and, with hard work, you can and will successfully master and complete this game.

Site [1001 Spikes]

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