Preview: Spectro – Perfect for Some Halloween Style Escapades
Originally unveiled in 2016, Borrowed Light Studios’ Spectro has made several appearances over the years, quietly disappearing then reappearing much like its content theme. It has always looked like an enjoyable concept. Making onto VRFocus’ ‘Best Mobile Games Coming in 2019’ list at the start of the year. That course has changed somewhat with the studio launching Spectro into Early Access on Steam, purely for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. In any case, it’s a nice easy going mix of action and puzzle gameplay.
Looking like a mash-up between Ghostbusters and Luigi’s Mansion, Spectro is a single-player experience putting you in the shoes of a paranormal investigator tasked with saving the town of Wierdwood. The only way to do this is to venture into a haunted tower filled with ghosts and other mysteries to recover the Mask of Okeem and save the day.
What this means is blasting lots of ghosts level by level, working your way to the top. And for the most part, it’s a fun, if somewhat simple gameplay experience. You’re armed with a plasma blaster weapon thing which can weaken the malevolent spirits wandering the tower, before sucking them up and trapping them. These ghosts come in a variety of styles, small nippy ones which fire green balls of energy, others which throw bombs (which can be hit back), and massive angry looking ones which get in the way.
Battling these spirits is the high-light of Spectro, dashing in and out of rooms avoiding their projectiles, each capture feeling suitably satisfactory – there’s no wrestling them like in Ghostbusters, however. This does mean Spectro works really well with the smooth locomotion option, allowing for strafing and quick movement. For those that require comfort options don’t worry they have been included, there’s ‘Blink’: a point to point teleportation system, or ‘Dash’; which is essentially the same you just see a quick movement. All work well enough, but due to the tight conditions of each level, smooth locomotion does offer a little more flexibility.
The levels aren’t just about fighting ghosts. Glinting items in each room indicate coins to be had which can then be spent in the store buying better weapons, health and other items. You can also open treasure chests with hidden keys to unlock better guns offering improved damage, speed and ammo capacity.
To progress each floor has a not so hidden totem (it grows bright blue), once collected it starts a brief treasure hunt where you need to find five objects as fast as possible. Using the totem then allows you to pinpoint a room with a secret door, behind which is a staircase to the next floor. The gameplay is all fairly playful in its nature with the only real difficulty coming from groups of ghosts.
Spectro is very much a family-friendly ghost-busting experience with nods to similar spooky film and videogame favourites. Its random level generation should provide enough variety to replay the tower over and over to gain the best upgrades. Even in Early Access form, VRFocus found Spectro to be a solid title with no noticeable bugs so far, paving the way for Borrowed Light Studios to turn this decent start into a hit.