SpiderHeck is a fast-paced brawler for up to four players from Neverjam and tinyBuild Games, and it is a wild and silly ride. For this review, I am actually doing it with my son, so I guess we can dub this another “Fatherly Review“.
So is SpiderHeck the type of frantic multiplayer brawler you need in your indie game library? Or does someone need to come around and stomp on these spiders? Let’s find out!
SpiderHeck initially just throws you into a playable menu upon startup. There’s no tutorial, no “How to”, or anything like that. You are just dropped into a beautifully colored world where an outline of a Switch just sits in the background showing you the controls. Although I appreciate this, it took a decent amount of goofing around within the menu area to figure out how to even play.
Not only that, but I was not even aware that the random sparkly things on the ground were pickups until I saw what initially looked like a rocket launcher (Spoiler alert: It was). It was at this point that my son and I realized what exactly we were getting into, so we began to dive into the various game modes.
On the single player side, we have Tiers of Heck, which is essentially little mini-missions where a few waves of enemies come your way. You are subject to certain weapons that create a particular challenge depending on the enemies coming towards you. The enemies in SpiderHeck are varied, but essentially they are lethal forms of other bugs, like flies, pill bugs (AKA roly poly), and beetles that will take you out if you aren’t careful. The Tiers of Heck is a nice little change up to the normal brawling, but that is exactly where the real game begins.
Wave Survival is another option that can be played alone where you fight off waves of enemies for a high score, but this can also be played with others locally or online
The core gameplay of SpiderHeck is in its Versus Battles, which pins you up against other spiders in either local play or online play. Up to four spiders can duke it out, and they can equip weapons like laser swords, rocket launchers, shotguns, bombs, and so much more. The happenings on screen can be quite chaotic depending on the available weapons (See image above), so this can create either a hilarious experience or a frustrating one, depending on the player.
Controls in SpiderHeck can feel quite complicated at first, as this is not your normal brawler. Since you play as a spider, crawling on the walls and zipping your way across the screen thanks to your webbing are essential to staying alive and using your environment to your advantage. Coupling that with the variety of weapons at your disposal and the amount of times you may accidentally kill yourself with an explosion or major recoil that throws you into the lava/acid, adjusting to the controls will take some time, but it is absolutely worth it!
That’s because the game is a ton of fun and one of the most unique multiplayer brawlers available now on the Nintendo Switch. SpiderHeck basically takes ideas from similar games prior, like Smash Bros, and adds numerous elements to make it stand out, namely being a spider and the natural aspects that come alongside being an arachnid. And seeing spiders wielding sci-fi weapons and destroying each other is way more satisfying than it has any right to.
Another fun part of the SpiderHeck experience is unlocking new hats and such to customize your spider. In terms of hats, you start off with nothing, but as you play, you will quickly start unlocking funny toppings to your spider baby. Seeing your adorable little spider slinging around with a cowboy hat or a traffic cone on its head is a wonderful touch that just adds a little more flavor and customization to the overall experience.
Graphically, this is a fairly minimalistic experience with some lovely particle and explosion effects. The stages and the hazards are colored in such a way to differentiate them from safe areas and things, and it all honestly looks gorgeous. The colors and lights look beautiful, and even the stages being covered in enemy remains/blood/something paints a colorful yet gruesome picture.
As far as the soundtrack goes, though, SpiderHeck is awesome! There aren’t a lot of songs to mix things up, but what is available is fantastic and somehow perfectly fits what is going on. The chaotic action of spiders stabbing each other or blowing things up is genuinely complimented by a stellar soundtrack. The sound effects, too, really immerse you into the spider-battling experience, as the tiny leg steps and web-shooting remind you quickly what you are. Each of the weapons also look and feel like proper sci-fi gadgetry that perfectly mixes itself in.
SpiderHeck is a simple, minimalistic-type brawler that can be an absolute blast between family and friends locally or online. It may seem limited at first, but the more you play, the more you invest. This truly is a title that is relatively easy to pick up but takes a lot of time to master. The sheer amount of weapons and variety of gameplay will keep players entertained for hours on end, and the price point is absolutely perfect.
Sure, I would have preferred a more helpful tutorial to help ease people into the unique experience, but honestly, the playable menu is a great way to figure things out on your own and learn via trial and error. There is a decent amount of single player content to keep the soloist busy, but the real platter is the Versus.
I honestly didn’t know what the heck was going on when I initially launched SpiderHeck alongside my son, but after a couple hours of playing, we couldn’t believe how much time we spent killing each other. Now, SpiderHeck is one of our go-to family games, and I cannot recommend this one enough. If the only issue is a lack of a tutorial, you know you are doing something right, and SpiderHeck does a whole lot right.
Excellent spider-based brawling action!
Lots to do whether it is alone or with others
Stunning minimalistic art style and particle effects
Lack of a tutorial to learn controls
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.