So like with my last review, I came upon this game when I was browsing my way too big steam library. Incidentally I had seen this before, and put it on my list of one of those interesting looking indie games, with a nice artsyle. The fact that I had gotten it from somewhere had completely gone over my head, until I saw it on my list. I guess I must have gotten it in one of the many bundles I have bought over the time.
Spate is a side-scrolling platformer, and my first impression was that it reminded me a lot of Limbo, wich is a very good thing. This might just be because they are both sidescrolling platformers, with a cool artsyle, but I think the whole feel of the game was very much like Limbo, and not like, for instance Megaman wich is, incidentally also a sidescrolling platformer.
The characters movement was pretty solid, if a little sloppy. I wouldn't say this game has top-notch twitch-action controlls, but they are merely good, and works very well with this game.
The level design wasn't that good, the puzzles wasn't that challenging, and more often than not, the game would have wide distances with nothing going on, other than the narrator filling in a piece of story, or some wierd visuals going on. Personally I don't have a big problem with this, because I'm not the best at platforming, and I'm especially not that patient, so I tend to give up if the puzzles are too hard. The fact that it was pretty easy, and there was these 'empty' sections, gave more space for the story to grow. There was however some points that were pretty fricking frustrating, at one point the game kept on killing me for incorrectly landing on some platforms, meanwhile the jumpy things bugged and died, meaning I had to restart the section to make it work. Another place would be right at the end *SPOILER ALERT* where you have to climb a tower to get to the end of the game, and it uses a mechanic that levitates you upwards, while you have to dodge saws and stuff, if you die at any point while flying you will start back at the bottom, and will have to fly up again, and it takes a long time to fly up.
The story was pretty great. The setting of the game had this whole Zeno Clash style wich I absolutely adore, and the story was a gloomy one about a man with a lot of problems. The whole thing matched nicely into the setting, and even managed to justify the wierd things, in a way that makes the player think for them selves. I think this part of the game, the whole story and setting thing, was by far the best executed thing in this game, and is defenitly the main selling point in my opinion.
The artstyle was pretty cool, as I already mentioned, it uses the wierd Zeno Clash esque style, and combines it with a grimy but colourful pallette (yea both of those things, at the same time, go figure), and often uses wierd camera angles, and effects, in a non-intrusive or gamebraking way, to effectuate the whole drinking thing.
Overall Spate is pretty good, but is also very short. I beat the game in one setting in less than two hours. So with a pricetag of 9.99 eur, I would say you'd probably want to pick it up at a sale, or buy it in a bundle. If you are a stickler for great stories, you might be able to justify the price.
Tl;dr: Great story, great visuals, great setting, very short, a little pricy. Buy on sale!