Released back in 2003, WarioWare was a game that immediately attracted my attention when it first came out. The premise behind the game was simple even though it was pretty innovative for its time. Basically the game was just a set of microgames with most only taking a couple seconds. While none of these microgames were particularly deep, the game worked due to its frantic pace and overall silliness. I bring all of this up because when I first saw Spookware, WarioWare immediately came to my mind. Spookware is a silly and genuinely fun microgame adventure that is best if you don’t take it too seriously.
In Spookware you play as three skeleton brothers Lefti, Midi, and Righti. After wasting most of their lives watching horror movies, the three decide to try and finally make something out of their lives. This leads them to embark on a big adventure. From enrolling in high school, to going on a cruise, and even running their own restaurant, the three brothers might have gotten into more than they first expected.
When most people first see Spookware they are probably going to be attracted to the game’s microgames. Basically the game contains around 60 minigames. Each of these microgames have you complete a simple task within a few seconds. These mostly involve pressing the arrow keys in a certain combination or using the mouse to drag an object to a specific area. Most of the time the game will give you a number of these microgames back to back. If you fail one of them due to either failing the task or not completing it in time, you will lose one of your three lives. If you lose all three lives you will have to start the set of challenges from the start again. Each chapter of the game has a couple sets of these microgames that you have to complete to continue the chapter.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the thing that initially intrigued me about the game were the microgames. While I haven’t really played one of these type of games for a while, I have always enjoyed the microgame genre. For the most part this aspect of the game lived up to my expectations. I will say that some of the microgames are better than others and some can be a little finicky at times. The vast majority of the microgames are quite fun though. Most only involve you using just a couple of buttons and take seconds to complete, but they can still be quite fun.
I think this aspect of the game succeeds for a couple of reasons. First the game is quite silly. Some of the microgames can be sort of graphic in a cartoony way, but they still succeed at being silly and don’t take themselves too seriously. Some of these games are built on horror tropes, and others are just silly. On the top of the silliness, the microgames work because they play quickly and the frantic pace of playing microgame after microgame does a good job keeping things moving. If you like these type of WarioWare style games, I think you will also really enjoy Spookware.
As for the difficulty of the microgames, I think it kind of depends. I will say that for some of the games it is not clear right away what the objective is. The task you have to complete in each is really simple, but there were a couple of games that I failed because I didn’t know what I was supposed to do right away. I would say that most of them aren’t all that difficult on their own. The short time limit and the fact that you have to quickly switch between games that are quite different leads to most of the difficulty. The more you play each microgame the easier they become. With enough practice you can fly through most of them without any real worry of failing them. Most of the time it isn’t that difficult to complete each group of games due to having three lives. Completing all of the games without losing a single life though (there are achievements for accomplishing this) can be quite difficult.
What I was a little surprised by was that Spookware is more than just a set of microgames. The microgames are tied together by an adventure mechanic somewhat similar to a point and click game (without the puzzles). Each chapter has its own theme and overall objective that you have to complete. To accomplish this task you will journey through different locations, talk to other characters, and pick up objects that you need to progress. Interspersed through these sections are the microgame sections mentioned above.
I was curious how an adventure game mechanic would work with the microgames, but it actually works pretty well. A lot of the microgames are actually built around the theme of the chapter. This especially applies to the third chapter. I wouldn’t consider the adventure element of the game to be particularly deep. As long as you are thorough with searching the environment you shouldn’t really have any troubles with it. I was kind of surprised by how well it ties together all of the microgames. This adventure mechanic might disappoint those that were just interested in the microgames, but I thought it added another dimension to the game.
Speaking of the adventure element, lets move onto the game’s story. I generally enjoyed the story even though it is very inconsistent. The overall story is pretty silly following three skeleton brothers heading out into the world for the first time after only watching horror movies for their entire lives. This leads to them not really knowing how the real world works. The story tends to spoof a lot of movies and video games. When it is on I found the story to be pretty funny and silly. When it is not though, the jokes can miss badly where they are more likely to receive groans than laughter. The humor is quite cheesy and relies on a lot of puns. If you like silly humor, I think you will like the story. If this type of story/humor annoys you though, it may not be for you.
As for the Spookware’s length the game is intended to consist of four episodes with three chapters in each episode. Right now the game has three chapters along with the prologue which acts like a tutorial. The other three episodes will be released at a later date as DLC (I am not sure if this will be paid or free DLC). How much time you get out of the game right now will somewhat depend on how you approach it. If you do the bare minimum to complete each chapter you could probably beat each chapter within around 45 minutes to one hour. If you go for all of the achievements which includes completing all of the microgame sections without losing a life it likely will take an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half for each chapter. After beating each microgame you also unlock it for a mode where you can play a random selection of games and try to survive as long as possible. Basically if you only do what is necessary to beat the game, you could probably expect around three hours out of the game right now. If you try to get all of the achievements though or try the remix mode some, I could see adding a couple hours to your playtime.
As a fan of microgames I was curious how Spookware was going to turn out. While not quite perfect, I really enjoyed my time with the game. The microgames are simple, but what do you expect from games that only last seconds. They work because they are quick and silly. Playing microgame after microgame in quick succession hoping to avoid failing any of them is quite satisfying. Fans of microgames should really enjoy this aspect of the game. The microgames are tied together with an adventure mechanic as you explore the world. This element is not particularly deep, but it does a surprisingly good job connecting the microgames together. The game’s story can be a little hit or miss as it can be both funny and groanworthy at times.
My recommendation for Spookware comes down to how much you generally like microgames and whether you are okay with the adventure elements inbetween. If you either don’t like microgames or aren’t interested in the additional adventure mechanics, Spookware may not be for you. Those who enjoy silly fun microgames though and don’t mind the adventure mechanics will likely really enjoy Spookware and should consider picking it up.
Buy Spookware online: Steam
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank BEESWAX GAMES and DreadXP for the review copy of Spookware used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.