1. cjvitek's Avatar
    Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, by Tiger Style Games
    $2.99, ****


    • Fun game play
    • Different from many other games (innovative)


    • Graphics are a little…underwhelming

    You are a spider. That’s the premise of Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor. You are a spider, and you are exploring an abandoned mansion (Bryce Manor). Who lived here? What happened to them? These are the questions you must answer as you travel into the manor.

    Don’t ask me why a spider cares about these things…just go with it.

    The game play of Spider: TSOBM is rather interesting. As a spider, you basically scuttle across the surface of the game board. Tap and hold somewhere to the left of the spider, and you move to the left. Tap and hold somewhere to the right, you move to the right. Very easy to control the spider. But as a spider, you also have two additional movement possibility. The first is jumping. By tapping the spider and then dragging you finger out into space, you “jump” and keep flying until you land on another flat surface. You can also jump and weave a web behind you – double tap on the spider instead of single tapping. The web is important, because you use the web to catch insects which…give you energy to make more webs!

    As you are playing, you progress through the various levels (38 levels) eating all the bugs you can, you gather clues to “the secret of Bryce Manor”. Don’t ask me what the secret is…I haven’t finished the game yet.

    In addition to the 38 levels, you also have other different game modes – race against time in feeding frenzy, precision (with limited silk), and hunger mode (where you must keep eating to survive). These each add a different level of fun to the game. Unfortunately there is no competitive mode with multiple players (I envision people trying to eat more bugs), but while multiplayer would be nice, it isn’t necessary in this kind of “adventure” game.

    The game play itself is fun. It is different than a lot of games, and at times it can take some practice to be able to weave the webs just like you want to, but the game controls and mechanism are a nice change of pace from some of the standard 2D scrolling games. The graphics are okay – they are all hand drawn and presumably digitized, but I was hoping for something a little…crisper than the graphics that are provided.

    The game play does get a little monotonous after a while of playing, but the programmers have tried to alleviate that a little by adding different kinds of insects as challenges. For example, with a wasp, you can’t use the web, you have to jump on the wasp directly to eat it. I am not sure about the replay value – the levels would be the same, so you simply have to go back and eat the insects again.

    All in all, this is a fun, somewhat different kind of game that can use of some time if you are sitting around. I got a little bored with it if I tried playing it for more than 20 or 30 minutes at a time, so I feel that it would be best in small doses as you slowly move your way into the manor. For $2.99, however, it is still enjoyable and enough fun that I recommend people give it a try. Four out of five stars.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. 
    07-13-2010 05:03 PM