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Do you remember the days of the 8 bit systems? If not then it looks highly possible that a lot of the indie devs making titles in this day and age are all raring to try to take you go back to a year where pixels were the in thing and polygons were best resembled as squares. Well with Spectra 8 Bit racer, we have a racer that tries to mix the old with some of the new, but does it actually work or should it have just stayed as a distant memory on the idea board? Gameplay – 4/10 During my time playing this title it became apparent very quickly that their wasn’t a whole lot of gameplay on offer within this title. The game is broken down into 10 randomly generated tracks, where you’re mission is to get to the end of tracks song, which can range from anywhere between three to four minutes whilst also trying you’re best to avoid obstacles or not fall off the track to. Bar the end of the second track you would of seen everything the title has to offer, the early tracks start off pretty slow but by seventy five percent through the track, the amount of obstacles you have to avoid will have multiplied, and this only progressively gets more difficult the further you get into the game. Some of the later tracks will make it a constant struggle for you to survive the time limit and get to the end. If you manage to get past the initial ten tracks the game has to offer, then you can take on the hardcore variations, again the tracks though are randomized and the other difference in the gameplay is that items appear to come at you faster and there is more on the screen at any one time that you must either avoid or scrape against. The game judges you’re performance on two items, stars and score, you can get three stars per tracks but these are not judge upon you’re score by the end of the track, these get judged on how far you got into the track and split into three sections, you get one start for thirty three percent completion, another for sixty six and the final for getting to the end. Scoring appears to only be for bragging rights only though, you can if you really want to keep playing different variations of the track to try and get a better score, or you can use the boost pads to add an extra multiplier to you’re total for a brief period of time, scraping against items also gives you another multiplier as does gaining a brief period of air time. Overall their really isn’t a whole lot to the game play and this can hinder the games performance, it isn’t a title you will play for hours on end. Graphics 3/10 If you thought the game play was laid a little thin in the game play, then graphically this you may be in for a shock because this title really doesn’t push the system to it’s core. You can tell this was originally a mobile title due to everything just seems so basic, you’re kart or racer is made to look rather nostalgic like, but you will find yourself racing down the same purple hued tracks over and over again. A little variation in the color schemes wouldn’t of gone a miss, especially seeing as in the background their isn’t a lot going on either, you occasionally pass under bridges with tiny 8 bit fans watching on. But apart from that and the bright pink blocks that you must avoid, you will get a tad bored of looking at this title rather quickly. I get that with it being eight bit inspired they may have thought less is more, but they surely could of done more to improve the aesthetics of the game. Sound 7/10 Quite easily the best part of the game and quite possibility the main reason many will try this title out. Chipzel offers up ten eight bit inspired chip tunes to race along to, each with a distinct style and faster beat with each track you take on. The music in the game really is a treat to listen to and you will find you will want to race along the tracks again and again to listen to the songs. Apart from the songs though the sound in the game is also non existent, no engine noise, barely any sound when you crash into things, you do get a brief whoosh when you go over a boost pad but apart from that, this is you’re lot. So come from the music but like all other aspects of the title. Don’t come in expecting sound design from a more major title. Achievements 7/10 During my play time I managed to rack up all of the achievement the game had to offer bar for one that was currently glitched until a patch comes into fruition, the game features a number of achievements, some of which are gained for completing each track. Some are more focused on score like for getting over nine thousand score in one run without dying, or for chaining together a combo of fifteen multipliers or more before breaking you’re streak. The achievements in the game shown some thought and none of them are too overly challenging bar for perhaps beating all tracks on the hardcore difficulty which can prove to be a pain somewhat. If you are looking for some quick score or just a few extra achievements then this will no doubt hand those out, you will need to try a little harder for achievements like fifty near misses in one successful run, but nothing is too taxing with some practice. Summary Spectra was a title I was eagerly anticipating upon it’s announcement for Xbox One back in 2013, however the finished product left me feeling disappointed, more could have been done to pad out the title especially when other indie racers at the same price point offer so much more value. If you are looking for a game where music is the key then pick this up, however if you want to play something with friends and battle it out for position then give this a miss. At a discount price it may be worth getting but at full price it is hard to justify the game with the content on offer.
 

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