Spectra: 8bit Racing
Top Critic Average
It's not a successful music/rhythm game and it's not a successful racing game. It's merely an adequate hybrid with a kickass soundtrack. At least the latter is worth a download.
I don't usually rely so literally upon Destructoid's scoring guide when assigning a number for a review, but it feels so apt in the case of Spectra. It's like a boring meal that did nothing more than chew up a little time. It does lack any real flavor. It didn't leave me any different than it found me. It's tolerable, but not anything special. Well, the music is special, but it turns out that Spectra can't stand on the merits of its music alone.
An acid-fueled tribute to the chiptune scene, Spectra is high on musical euphoria and painfully low on gaming excitement.
If you aren't inclined to focus on high scores and achieving perfection like arcades used to promote, Spectra doesn't offer much for you.
Control gripes aside, I'm quite impressed with Spectra. The high-quality audio, the simple, yet surprising depth of gameplay, and the clean visuals all come together to provide a title that should provide plenty of enjoyment to those who opt to purchase it. My only concern lies in what sort of ways they can improve the game even further.
Even with good looking graphics and catchy retro-inspired tunes, Spectra is disappointingly shallow. There are only ten stages to contend with, each looking exactly like the last. Worse yet, the simplistic gameplay and overused obstacles make this indie outing feel repetitive. And with no way to import your own songs or create custom levels, Spectra is a game destined to be quickly forgotten.
Altogether, Spectra creates a short yet enjoyable experience that mostly makes up for its visual sameness with the great supporting soundtrack, which is also available for purchase. For a lowly $7.
With visceral, retro-inspired visuals and a fantastic chip-tunes soundtrack, Spectra is a twitch game aimed at those who miss the 80s. It's solid, too, but is ultimately marred by repetition, frustration and a notable lack of substance.
For something that tries so hard to test your reflexes, Spectra ultimately tests your patience more than anything else.
Had the team at Gateway implemented better controls, more diversity in level design and other features, Spectra could've easily been on its way to becoming a cult classic for this generation. As it stands, it's not bad for a $5 purchase, but more could've been done with it. It's likely best left to those who want to truly test their "twitch" skills, as everyone else is bound to be frustrated by its limitations – and play a better retro-oriented game instead.