Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition Switch Review

Lichtspeer is an arcade style game based entirely around the arcing trajectory of a speer spear, as the player aims up and down, raining neon death upon all manner of crazy creatures before they are reached, all for the enjoyment of a maniacal God. It’s incredibly addicting and easy to pick up, using bare basic controls to train reactions and accuracy. When I reviewed the original version, almost a year ago now, I described it as

“that perfect little game that sometimes you just need. It puts fun above all else and I loved it”.

I mentioned how its difficulty curve is right on point and that, even for how zen it is, it manages to do that thing where it playfully frustrates the player into quick restarting again and again because they need to beat it.

So how does this Switch exclusive version, Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition, build on that? All it technically does it add a co-op mode but in reality it’s much deeper than that. See, Lichtspeer was great fun when I played it on the PS4, but I could only imagine it being infinitely better on the Vita. Due to its simplistic yet challenging nature, a portable version seems like a match made in heaven. The Switch, however, is not only portable but also comes with a second controller built in. What we have here is on the go co-op with no extra accessories needed and the ability to play one of the most fun, addictive games out there with just about anyone due to the succinct core gameplay mechanics. Whoever, wherever, and whenever. The amazing combination of Lichtspeer and Nintendo’s Switch allows both of them to show their true potential and I’m sure we’re going to see much more like it with the way Nintendo has recently been opening up to the indie scene.

Is it really just two players (with the second player controlling a flying, armored dachshund) javelining monsters instead of one, though? Yes and no. Throughout most of the game it’s just two people playing the single player mode together, with the a scaled amount of enemies (sadly not quite enough to make it as difficult as the single player mode, though). The later sections where special targets need to be hit to either teleport away from a boss’ attack or to stop an oncoming laser etc, on the other hand, can really test a team. These targets, in co-op mode, are randomly one of two colours, meaning only one of the players can hit them. It may not sound like much but having to coordinate one player holding back the incredible hordes of enemies whilst the other player is feeling the pressure of having to make a desperate shot or face doom for the party is more fun than I’ve had playing a co-op game in a while. It brings about a strange feeling of ambivalence between needing to play seriously and yet laughing the entire time.

Even the upgradable powerups, such as slowing down time or raising a shield have shared cooldowns, forcing both players to communicate their usage and what they’re going to be attacking to avoid tackling the same enemies and inevitably being overrun. Still, though, due to the game’s short length and easier 2-player difficulty, especially considering the second player’s unique special ability is to wipe out everything on the screen with a giant laser beam, an endless mode would have gone a long way. Of course, there is both a higher difficulty and New Game+, as well as silver and gold challenges for each level, but I still hope to see some extra two-player focussed content in the future. Fortunately, I’m still a good while away from completing everything for now and I’ll be passing that second controller to anyone I can get. Wunderbar!

8 out of 10
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