A reader sent a link to the game Sp.A.I, a cyberpunk themed “third-person puzzle platformer”. I had already downloaded the game, but it’s taken me a bit to actually sit down and play it. The game was developed by // No comment, a team of 5 students from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Fairly interesting for a student project.

You can download the game at http://www.indiedb.com/games/spai/

So, what’s it like? Read on for a small review.

It’s nice to see some younger people showing an interest in the old school “neon and polygons” art style for cyberpunk. Nice to see this still resonates with people and that it’s not a completely outdated concept. As such, I really liked the visual style of the game.

I enjoyed the setup of the tutorial part. It gives you good information and it’s neat to see the dialogs worked into the architecture of the game. However, this gets annoying later if you’re under pressure and trying to read the tutorial. You also have less control over it since it advances the text at its own pre-determined speed.

The difficulty is a bit off. I found most of the firewall puzzles to be laughably easy, but then the platformer parts became very difficult very quickly. Maybe I’m getting old and my old Mario skills are failing me. I suspect the problem is that the path across platforms isn’t always very clear in where you should go; I know in one case I kept making a very difficult jump (and finally made it) only to later find there was an easier jump I could make to go the long way around. A smoother difficulty curve would be better for both parts, though.

I also wasn’t sure about some of the features. It seems easy to jump into areas where there is no way to easily get back to the “official path”. In one part I landed in an area and had no option but to jump to my death since I couldn’t jump back on the path. (Falling to my death in cyberspace, though?) I also didn’t understand how to deal with enemies. It seemed I couldn’t shoot them, and they followed me around quite a bit.

The biggest problem is that there is no save feature. If you quit, you’ll have to start over from the very beginning. This can be especially annoying if you just want to take a break from an annoying platformer segment.

That said, I can see amazing potential for the game despite the flaws. I could see the puzzle elements getting tricky if set up properly. The variety of platforms could lead to some interesting levels as well. I think a lot more focus needs to go into using these elements, however

Anyway, I recommend giving the game a try if you like puzzles and/or platforming games. Just be ready for some tricky jumps after the first few introductory levels.

I’d love to hear what others think of the game. And so would the developers! They have a series of questions they’ve asked people to answer on the IndieDB site, so give them answers to help them improve the game.