Spareware, developed by the Finnish outfit Rusto Games, is a top down Co-Op shooting platform game which lets you and four friends team up to free the city of Helsinki from the evil deluded security forces. The game itself is quite basic in its appeal, and doesn’t bog down the player in a narrative. Instead the player is met with a basic game, which drops you into the action right off the bat. The studio, which mainly developed mobile games’ first entry into the console fray is fun and addictive, and will give you and your friends hours of fun.

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Killing brainwashed security guards have never looked this fun.

Graphically the game is pleasing to the eye and one can actually see what is going on unlike games like Cobalt. There are violent themes in the game such as body parts being flung apart when you blow up the security forces with copious amounts of blood everywhere. Other than that the game is gorgeous.

The game is quite difficult to master initially, without any explanation how to achieve certain goals. For instance I have played several games before I realized that you could gain upgrades and/or health packs from destroying vehicles. The game also does not explain the mechanic of how you could ‘gain’ more of the in game ‘power’ cells, all which drains when you lose parts or get destroyed. In my case I had to restart over several times in my pursuit to gain more ‘cells’.

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Lots of explosions if you aim in the right place

Spareware allows you to build and upgrade your robot with these cells, however you only lose cells once the enemy deals damage or destroys a part of your system. Gaining these cells and ‘leveling’ up is still an unknown to me after several hours of gameplay as the game does not make it apparently clear how these elements function. You do get ability points which you can assign to certain skills which would benefit you and your friends while in combat, such as an increased magazine capacity or health regeneration on demand.

Overall the gameplay was pretty solid once you get used to it. The enemies are quite difficult as you progress through the game. What I found quite baffling was how much the difficulty spikes once you finished the first area. The game is divided in several ‘areas’ of the domed city of Helsinki, and each area holds specific rewards (if any). Gaining these rewards are met with fierce resistance, as the AI difficulty spikes even higher in these specific parts of the city.

Painting the town red
Painting the town red

For a $9.99 game, I found this game to be quite fun during times even with the intense difficulty. If I had once criticism of the game I would ask for the developer to lower the difficulty when playing as one gamer, as the difficulty remains the same whether or not you’re one of four. The game offers several hours of gameplay, and I would recommend this as a party game for you and your friends when you’re just looking for fun. If you’re a single player looking for a cheap game to play by yourself, then look somewhere else. This game is not made for single player and unfairly punishes you for doing so.

Spareware is currently available for Xbox One

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