I often browse Steam Sales to see if there’s something I’ve never heard of and looks interesting. After all, you can’t go wrong with spending a few cents on a game can you? Spoiler Alert was one of those games that I bought back in the day to see what it is about. It had positive reviews on Steam, and I remember seeing it on YouTube once so I gave it a shot.
Spoiler Alert, published by Tiny Build, is the creation of a two-man independent Danish game studio called Megafuzz, founded by Jeff Jensen and Martin Bruun Pedersen. They’ve met each other for the first time at an Indie Game Jam in 2012 and ended up creating a prototype for the game we now know as Spoiler Alert. The prototype was well loved by not only the judges, but the audience as well and even managed to end up first place! Because of the positive reactions, they decided to make a full game out of the prototype and after six months of hard word founded their own game studio. Spoiler Alert was then released 30 June 2014, and managed to win three more indie awards in Europe that year: The most innovative game, the most promising game in development and the best desktop game award. Spoiler Alert is the only game from Megafuzz on Steam, though they have created a few more games on the Google Play store, and one is currently in development called Ronn for your Life.
As the proud and strong Chili Pepper Knight, you face off against the evil Deathbunny to save your beloved Princess Tomato (or are you?). But what’s this? The credits roll and suddenly the game plays in reverse? And I have just explained the plot and theming of Spoiler Alert to you in three sentences. Instead of playing the game like normal, you play the game in reverse. Which means that instead of starting at the beginning of the game, you start at the final boss. And instead of facing a boss at the end of a world, you face it at the beginning. But it’s not just that simple since you don’t actually beat the boss, you ‘’revive’’ it. It’s a clever idea and the main selling point of the game. There is not much of a story outside of the reversal theme, but that’s not the main priority for this kind of game after all.
The game plays like most 2D autorunner platformers: You can jump on enemies, grab coins and powerups etcetera. But instead of going from left to right, you go the other way around. But like I said earlier, it’s not just that simple. Since you go back in time you have to do the exact opposite of what you did—or should’ve done since you haven’t played the game the normal way. That means that any coins grabbed, any enemy defeated; you have to undo those actions. This is distinguishable by means that the defeated enemy is buried in the ground with his head pointing out, and the coins are see-through. Jump on the buried enemy or grab the see-through coin and you have undone your actions. If you don’t, you’ll cause a time paradox and have to do the level over again. The same also goes for enemies and coins that you did not defeat or grab on the normal playthrough. After all, jumping on an enemy that you didn’t defeat the first time would also cause a paradox. As expected, the further you get into the game obstacles of both varieties show up in one level, trying to mess with you brain. Fortunately this game is very forgiving, so making an error only puts you back at the beginning of a stage.
There are also three different power-ups to bring some diversity. This means that instead of reviving enemies by jumping on them, you instead catch the projectile you shot at them. Or roll. Because rolling is a power-up. I have to address the elephant in the room however. Because undoing Chili Pepper Knight’s run is basically all you’re doing, this makes the gameplay come down to timing a button press as it is an autorunner as well. There is almost no skill involved because of this, making the gameplay rather repetitive for a lack of better words. Because this game isn’t long it’s not a big problem, but you’ll have to keep it (and the other points I’ll address) in mind.
There are three worlds, each having 30 levels. Most of these levels can be finished in about 10 to 20 seconds and there is enough variety in them. If you do fail to meet the requirements of the level, you start over at the beginning with the only disadvantage being missing out on the gold rank so the penalty is forgiving. If you really want the gold rank you just have to select the level from the main level select again. The level select is very easy to navigate with showing which ranks you have on what level, though each level doesn’t have a name or anything so that doesn’t exactly help in making levels sound unique. There are three ranks you can get at the end of a level: Gold for finishing the stage without failure, Silver for finishing the stage with less than three failures and Bronze for finishing the stage with more than three failures. In the end it doesn’t matter what rank you get unless you’re going for completion.
As there are a total of 90 levels with most of them taking 10 to 20 seconds.. well even if you suck at maths, it comes down to the game not being very long. Even if you’re planning to complete the game 100%, it should not take longer than an hour. Megafuzz has included a few modes to extend gaming time. There is an extra world of 10 more levels which is really short, but there is also Speedrun mode. In this mode you play the entire game back to back to get the fastest time as possible. This mode is kind of weird though, since it is an autorunner so if you make no faults you’ll get the fastest time possible. The main attraction to this mode is getting the gold rank, meaning that you don’t cause a single time paradox during the entire run. Other than that there is a dedicated level creation mode and Steam Workshop IF you have purchased the collector’s edition. It’s fun for what’s it worth and there are currently over more than 100 levels, so if you are truly more interested in what the game has to offer beyond the main campaign there’s that. Strangely enough the entire game works with gamepad except for level creator mode.
The biggest issue I have with Spoiler Alert personally is the missed potential it has. I would love to see a mode for example where you do play through the game regularly and then after you beat it, you have to unbeat it. It’s a very short game so that mode would work well. And while I have said that there is variety in the levels, there is still only one way to beat them making replayability outside of the extra modes non-existent. It makes sense of course, but that is something the mode I mentioned could fix. It would also make the difficulty progression more logical, as now the first levels that you play last are the hardest and the last levels that you play first are pathetically easy. There is of course more but that would alter the game completely, but I wouldn’t mind a sequel continuing this idea.
The graphics are hand drawn, everything looks good enough for it to play well. I haven’t come across any performance issues but I have heard the Linux version does not work so keep that in mind. I have no Linux so I can’t confirm that. The music sounds okay but it’s not something I’ll remember for long. Don’t get me wrong though, the original soundtrack is not bad at all.
Spoiler Alert has an interesting theme going for it, and is the main selling point for the game. The gameplay functions but unfortunately gets repetitive relatively fast due to it mostly coming down to pressing a few buttons. There is potential for this concept to grow even bigger however, and I would love to see that executed someday. There is little replayability, but going for the gold medal in Speedrun mode extends playtime. As does the level creator but do keep in mind the Collector’s Edition is necessary. My personal recommendation is to play it, but since it is so short you might as well go for beat or even complete it. And with that, here is my final verdict for Spoiler Alert:
Spoiler Alert is available for both Steam and Mobile devices. Due to its simplistic gameplay there isn’t a wrong version to play, though playing it on Steam with the Collector’s Edition will give you the benefit of the Steam Workshop if you do so desire. It is cheaper on mobile devices however, unless you’re planning to wait for a Steam Sale.