Spectrum is a game developed by 3D Avenue that wears its minimalist design like a badge of honour. It originally came out in 2015 on iOS and Android devices to generally positive reviews. One year later, it would appear on Steam and now it’s been released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
The game is simple in nature. The design, the buttons used to move your character, and the music are all very basic and straightforward. This could be seen as lazy by some individuals, but I believe it’s a nice break from the hyper-realistic games we see from AAA studios. You play as a nameless, three-eyed, black blob traversing through an abstract world full of bright colours.
Spectrum is a simple platformer that sees you trying to get from Point A to Point B by any means possible. There are obstacles that you will have to work your way through in order to get to the portal at the end of each level. Naturally, there has to be a danger element to add excitement to the levels such as walls and floating objects which can do damage, or even instantly kill you. If you’re not insta-killed by the hazard then you’re allowed to take up to three hits before you die. However, if you find yourself low on health, each level has White Orbs which you can pick up to restore your health bar, one notch at a time. Ensuring you pick up these regenerative orbs is absolutely crucial as you get further into the game as things start to get much more manic.
When you die, you’ll restart the level from the beginning but this isn’t as bad as it sounds. The majority of the levels are under one minute, so you will not feel like you’re losing a lot upon your demise. Each of the levels has three trophies that you can acquire for your performance – picking up all the White Orbs, beating the time limit, and not taking any damage. These are very simple to get at first, but you’ll find yourself having to replay levels in order to figure out how to beat them more efficiently.
You will quickly discover that you have an infinite jump ability which could easily be interpreted as flying. You also have a dive option, but that’s about it in terms of controls outside of your standard movements. As you progress through Spectrum, you’ll encounter different unique levels which can be quite a challenge, but you will never feel like you were cheated or that the game’s unfair. If you die then it’s most likely due to your own impatience or a case of trying again and again until you get the timing right.
There are ten levels per world and a total of four worlds on the light side. At any point, you can choose to go to the Dark World for an extra challenge to all of the original forty levels. My personal suggestion would be to finish the first forty before even considering going to the dark side, as the Dark World levels are extremely difficult. Don’t count on getting all the trophies for each level; it’s not worth the headache.
One of the big differences between the mobile version of the game and the Nintendo Switch version is the inclusion of a local 2-player race mode. While playing in this mode, six of the eighty levels available will be randomly selected. Players must compete to be the first to three points. The game plays out the same as it does in the main game with all of the same rules intact, only with two players in split-screen.
Spectrum is a minimalistic platformer that really tests your patience with it’s more advanced Dark World levels. The simplistic nature of the game makes this a great game to pick up and play in short bursts, but there is also enough content for longer play sessions as well. The addition of a two-player time-attack mode was fun, but it doesn’t deviate from the core mechanic of the main game or offer anything new other than declaring who’s the fastest between the two players. However, based on the current price point and how much time Spectrum entertained us, I wouldn’t have any issues recommending this to casual gamers or those looking for a simple game they can just pick up and play.