Spirits (iPad)

Developer: Mattias Ljungstrom

Look! A walking mushroom!

I must confess that I was quite a hardcore Lemmings fan (even though that was probably about 15 years ago). When I chanced upon Spirits, those old Lemmings memories flooded back into my head. Not surprisingly, I took to Spirits like a duck to water.

 

For you guys who are too young to have enjoyed the experience of Lemmings on a MS-DOS 386, do allow me to give a brief explanation of how Spirits (and also Lemmings) works. The aim of the game is to get all the spirits to the end point. The spirits are “mindless” creatures that would will wander around on flat terrain until it is blocked or dead (assuming they are alive in the first place). Tapping a walking spirit, will allow you to tell it to either build a bridge, dig a tunnel or turn into a big puffy cloud that blows any other spirits in a specific direction. Using these tools consumes the spirit, but when used in the right positions, allows the rest of the spirits to reach their swirly end destination.

In Spirits, there are plants (a feature that was not present in the old Lemmings). When you tap on a spirit in the air, it would drop a greenish ball which is able to save plants. You can also save a plant if it comes into contact with a spirit. In order to get the perfect solution, you must be able to save all the plants in the level in addition to reaching the end destination by using the least amount of spirits as ‘functions”. This forces you to think, not just about getting all your spirits to the swirl, but also to walk around the well thought out levels, collecting plants from all nooks and crannies.

As long as you fulfill the minimum amount of spirits required to reach its end point, you would have completed the level. Usually getting the minimum requirement is not a problem. But after finishing the game, trying to get the perfect solution for each level gives Spirits great, if not limited, replay value.

Each of the 40 levels, have been pretty brilliantly designed. Depending on your creativity and maybe intelligence, The difficulty varies for every level, some requiring a bit of creativity, while others might need some good old problem-solving. But while they do require some thought, each level having a playing time of roughly 3-5 minutes, ensures that spirits never gets as difficult, nor as frustrating as the previous game involving mindless mammals.

Ghostly mushrooms. Floating about. In a beautiful, yet strangely familiar, psychedelic landscape. How do they come up with these ideas?

The original artwork of Spirits is extremely pleasing to the eye. A mixture of breezy particle effects, accompanied by a soothing ambient soundtrack, makes Spirits a great relaxing game. The fluidity of how spirits warp in the wind, and float to the ground so naturally, is a stark contrast to the industrial brick-building nature of Lemmings. The ethereal vibe of Spirits provides a ‘zen’ environment which probably also contributes to why it is so much less frustrating than lemmings.

In conclusion, Spirits is a great puzzle game and I was extremely impressed by the way it has all come together, to say the least. It is the classic example of why the concept of some games will just never be forgotten, and will be remade over and over again. The graphics are also a big part of this game, even though they make it seem as though it was made to be played while you are under the influence of camomile tea or {insert dreamy-relaxed state inducing medication here}.  After all, where else would you see mushroom-shaped spirits, floating mindlessly about in a beautifully psychedelic landscape, while transmogrifying themselves into various other hallucinatory objects. (By now, you should be asking, what smoking crows is smoking. I’m joking. Don’t ask.)

To guys who have not gotten it, I believe it is on a discount now ($0.99).

Score: 9/10

Review by Smoking Crows


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