Spiral Episode 1 Review

By , on June 25, 2013
Last modified 10 years, 11 months ago

Spiral Episode 1
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Gameplay and narrative flow nicely. 
  • Flits between combat, platforming, and other elements with conviction.
  • A well realised visual style.


  • Some control issues.
  • Saps your battery.


This action adventure that might be too linear for some, but generates real momentum with its story, impressive world, and varied gameplay.

  • Full Review
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Spiral is certainly a strange beast. It features a very striking, and sometimes gorgeous visual style. It's got competent voice acting and an intriguing narrative. The gameplay not only offers variety, but incorporates touch controls relatively well. Saying all of this, the game plays havoc on your battery, and some of the aspects of the experience are not as well implemented as they should be.

You play as Tempus, a young amnesiac who shares a body with a robotic arm called AVA. On contract to the military, you come across a conspiracy involving the echelons of power that is somehow linked to the deadly spiral virus that is decimating the population. The game leads you along by the arm through this mystery, breaking up plotting with combat, one-touch platforming, and forced stealth sections.

Tapping and holding will create a reticle that will guide Tempus through the world (with double tapping acting as a run). Likewise, combat is handled with a combination of taps and swipes.

Tempus's arm changes to three distinct weapons depending on whether an enemy is at close, medium, or long range. A single tap will execute a single attack with your gun, staff, or blades. Holding your finger down on an enemy will charge up a strong attack which will usually hit more than one foe if they are clumped together. Blocks are handled automatically.

The combat is fairly fluid, but does suffer on the iPhone screen, with taps sometimes being misread, and camera controls proving a tad finniky. Defeating foes and completing objectives will award you with experience points, which you can use to level up your attributes. The game automatically spends this points by default, but you can change to a manual level up system, or a balanced one.

With all that Spiral does right, it is certainly not for everyone. The visuals are downright breathtaking in some sequences, but some may find the cartoonish representation of the characters in this world off-putting. Some may also dislike the very linear nature of the gameplay. In its defence, there is a real flow to the progression, one which should keep you glued to your screen.

Or at least it would if the game wasn't such a resource hog. In a little under an hour of play, the game had sapped the iPhone battery from near full to twenty percent. Worrying to say the least.

And then there's the price. This is episode one and it's nearly six dollars at launch. If the upcoming episodes cost the same amount, the high entry level may render it a niche title. Still, it's clear to see that the developers put a lot of passion and effort into this project, and it would be great to see such a title find an audience.


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