For this week’s Indie Fix, I played the very charming and endearing, Spike. First thing to say about this game is that is just stunning. No exaggeration, it’s stunning. The colours and art style is reminiscent of Firewatch with additional colour palettes thrown in at different parts of the game. Everything from the leaves and the trees, to the waterfalls and caves is just gorgeous to look at.
In Spike, you guessed it, you play as a hedgehog. The aim of the game is to reunite with your family who are running ahead of you through pretty much the entirety of the game.
The games serves its tutorials to the player through a series of stone monoliths that convey the controls through little paintings. It’s a novel and interesting way of teaching players controls without intrusive pop ups.
As mentioned, the sole aim is to reach your family. To do that you need to navigate various hazards including mudslides, hungry owls and terrifying roads. Despite the hazard filled journey, Spike manages to maintain a feeling of innocence as you guide this little hedgehog through these obstacles. My favourite (and most stressful) part of the game was when I had to roll myself in fallen leaves for camouflage. It was so childishly fun that I just wanted to keep doing it. I realised it was hiding me from the owl above me and felt thrilled at how clever a hedgehog I was – only for horror to set in as I realised the gentle breeze was blowing them off me.
Everything from Spike’s speed to the ambient forest sounds is designed to relax the player – and it does. But it’s only as you continue playing that you realise that life is a constant peril for this little creature.
Another great aspect of the game is that it doesn’t allow you any control over the camera angle. You might think this is strange but it pretty much always shows you the best possible version of what you’re seeing on screen. It’s a nice touch that allows you to see what the developer wants you to see – without it feeling intrusive on your experience.
It ends with a tense sequence in which you have to cross a busy road. Guiding Spike through it was one of the most stressful experiences of my entire life (no joke) and it’s incredibly well done. It you didn’t grasp the fragility and vulnerability of Spike before this, then you can’t finish without grasping it.
Given that I feel you can enjoy the beauty and wonder of Spike with knowing full spoilers, I’m comfortable saying the little tyke makes it in the end. This is truly a lovely game and one I would recommend fully.
You can download Spike here.
What is The Indie Fix? You can find more information about this column and how to have your game featured right here.