We liked Spyder from the very first moment we clapped our eyes on the game's cute little leading arachnid, Agent 8, a mechanical spy-bot with eight legs and penchant for saving the world. With bombs to defuse and missions to complete, we were eager to start our adventure and get stuck into the new game from Sumo Digital. But did the experience leave us shaken or stirred? Let's find out.
Spyder's first web is being spun on Apple Arcade, the paid subscription service on iOS that, in exchange for a monthly stipend, grants you access to a treasure trove of quality mobile titles. Sumo Digital's newest release is the latest exclusive to land on the platform, and it represents the kind of polished, big(ish) budget title that subscribers will no doubt be pleased to see after a couple of quieter months in terms of new releases.
First impressions are undoubtedly positive thanks to the quality of the visuals. Spyder looks great, with Agent 8 looking like the bee's knees thanks to some quality animations that really bring it to life. The environments all around the mechanical critter have been realised with plenty of style, too. You'll be exploring a limited selection of retro-themed levels, from a mission control room deep in a military bunker through to a space-capsule orbiting the planet. There isn't a huge number of levels, but the developers have compensated for this by making sure that each one feels distinct. The retro-design pervades the whole adventure and we thought the overall presentation to be utterly charming.
While Agent 8 looks the part, it's more important that he's fun to control, and for the most part, he is. The gameplay systems are very simple and interactions rarely extended beyond straightforward button presses that feed into gentle puzzles. Grown-ups will likely be less engaged by the challenge on offer (especially early on when the training wheels are still on, although things improve as the levels get tougher), yet Spyder has clearly been built with little fingers in mind and we thought that the difficulty was pitched just right for younger members of the family.
It helps if you can play with a controller, especially as at times you'll be walking up walls and scurrying to avoid detection. We synced an Xbox One controller to our iPad and played like that for the most part, although we did dabble with the touch controls too. We certainly prefered the added accuracy of the analog sticks and we'd recommend you play it that way if you've got the option, although the touch controls work just fine even if we did find it less responsive when trying to interact with certain items.
As we mentioned before, there are only half a dozen missions, and as such, an eager mind will get through the adventure in just a couple of hours. With that sort of length, is it worth the download? If you've got little ones cluttering up the place, then we'd say that it's absolutely worth taking a closer look if you've already got access to Apple Arcade. Is it worth subscribing for this alone? Possibly not, but combined with a number of other child-friendly games on the platform, we think a fiver a month is a pretty fair deal considering the number of quality games you'll get access to, including this one.
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